A humorous approach to the dilemma of choosing just one bedtime story.


The books on Josh’s shelf are at war.

Each one is vying to be the book that the boy wants to read most for “story time tonight!” Pirate Book says, “Josh wants a rousin’ tale with deadly swords and treasure hoards!” Poem Book states, “Let me through! Roses are red. Violets are blue. Josh will pick me. He will not pick you.” Joke Book counters with, “At least I make Josh laugh!” Spouting hilarious dialogue, the amusingly rendered books, pictured with anthropomorphic features—Joke Book with Groucho-like glasses, nose, and moustache; Pirate Book with a black eye patch and red bandanna; and Poem Book with daisies for eyes—jostle and push. Space Book, Dinosaur Book, and Pop-Up Book join the crowd, all fighting against each other until poor Pirate Book is pushed to the floor, where shark toys lurk under the bed. Quickly, the books unite to rescue Pirate Book. Pop-Up Book has a “spectacularly designed staircase” that tumbles out of its castle to save the day. By the time Josh and Grammie (who both have light brown skin and dark hair, with Grammie’s turning a little gray) come in to choose a bedtime story, all the books are tucked away on their shelves, still worried over Josh’s pick. The boy surprises them by choosing his many favorites (the six featured books), and Grammie agrees to read them all. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A humorous approach to the dilemma of choosing just one bedtime story. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1272-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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A strong series start.


From the Press Start! series , Vol. 1

In a video game, a superpowered rabbit must rescue a singing dog that brings everyone happiness.

In the frame story, a brown-skinned human protagonist plays a video game on a handheld console evocative of the classic Nintendo Gameboy. The bulk of the book relates the game’s storyline: Animal Town is a peaceful place where everyone is delighted by Singing Dog, until the fun-hating King Viking (whose black-mustachioed, pink-skinned looks reference the Super Mario Brothers game series villain, Wario) uses his army of robots to abduct Singing Dog. To save Singing Dog—and fun—the animals send the fastest among them, Simon the Hedgehog, to get Super Rabbit Boy (who gains speed and jumping powers by eating special carrots) to save the day. The chapters take Super Rabbit Boy through video game levels, with classic, video game–style settings and enemies. Throughout the book, when the game’s player loses either a life in the game or the game entirely, the unnamed kid must choose to persevere and not give up. The storylines are differentiated by colorful art styles—cartoonish for the real world, 8-bit pixel-sprite–style for the game. The fast, repetitive plot uses basic, simple sentences and child-friendly objects of interest, such as lakes of lava, for children working on reading independence, while the nerdy in-jokes benefit adults reading with a child.

A strong series start. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-03472-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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A chuckle-inducing, entirely worthy stand-alone follow-up to the terrific The Princess in Black (2014).


From the Princess in Black series , Vol. 2

Princess Magnolia’s perfect birthday party’s threatened by constant monster alarms, summoning her secret identity again and again.

Prim, proper Princess Magnolia is all decked out in her pink finery, awaiting the arrival of a dozen ethnically diverse fellow-princess party guests for her birthday when her monster-alarm ring goes off. She changes attire and personas, becoming the heroic Princess in Black. Working swiftly, she saves a goat from a hungry monster and gets back to her palace in time to welcome her guests. But just when she thinks she’s in the clear and ready to open her presents, off goes her monster-alarm ring again! This pattern—Magnolia is just about to open presents when her alarm goes off, she comes up with a distraction for the princesses, defeats a monster, and returns just in time—continues through the book. It’s enhanced by visual gags, such as Magnolia’s increasingly flustered appearance, and hilarious depictions of the various ways monsters try to eat goats, from between giant pieces of bread to in a giant ice cream cone. A side character, the fittingly named Princess Sneezewort, frequently comes close to discovering Magnolia’s secret. In the end, Magnolia can’t take the constant interruptions anymore, yelling at a monster that it’s her birthday—the monster, abashed, ends up helping her in one last distraction for the other princesses.

A chuckle-inducing, entirely worthy stand-alone follow-up to the terrific The Princess in Black (2014). (Fantasy. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6511-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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