Saturday, March 31, 2012

Four 2012 Picture Books

No Go Sleep. Kate Feiffer. Illustrated by Jules Feiffer. 2012. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages. 

One night when the stars were out and the moon was bright, a baby said, "No go sleep!"
And the baby's mommy said, "It's time for you to close your eyes and think sweet thoughts."
And the baby's daddy said, "Put your head down and fall fast asleep."

This one has a good premise, a familiar premise, true, but a good one. The family that stars in Kate Feiffer's No Go Sleep! has a baby that refuses to go to sleep.  

If you're expecting the baby to say "No Go Sleep!" in response, to keep up the fight, the battle, then you may be disappointed (like I was) with the direction this one goes next. For instead of this being a family-focused bedtime battle (or fit), this one goes to nature....yes, nature.

For don't you know that the sun, the moon, the stars, a passing car, some birds, some frogs, some bunnies, some sheep, a front door, a goldfish, some shoes, a doll, a teddy bear, a tree, and an owl have a role to play in getting the stubborn baby down to sleep?! Each has something to say, even if it is only tweet, tweet or beep, beep, beep, etc.

I found the book to be very strange, very odd. Perhaps if it had only been personifications of nature, of the animal kingdom, talking then it might be okay. Not necessarily for me--but still okay. But to have shoes and a front door, etc.?! Well, it's just too weird for me.

The focus of this one seemed to be on EVERYTHING BUT THE BABY. Which I found odd...

Read No Go Sleep
  • If you're a fan of bedtime books
  • If you like an odd twist or two to your bedtime reading with your little one
  • If you're a fan of Kate Feiffer
Too Princessy! Jean Reidy. Illustrated by Genevieve Leloup. 2012. Bloomsbury. 32 pages.

I am bored! 
Too jolly, too jumpy,
Too diggy, too dumpy! 
Too piecy, too blinky,
Too bangy, too plinky.

Jean Reidy is back with another in her series. The first, Too Purpley, was about a little girl who had NOTHING to wear. She was just not happy with ANYTHING in her closet. The second book, Too Pickley, was about a little boy who was a very, very, very picky eater. The third book, Too Princessy!, is about a little girl who is so very, very bored that she just can't find anything to do. Even though she is surrounded by toys. No, nothing is satisfying her today. This one has a fun but slightly predictable twist to it. (Can you guess what she ends up playing with?)

Read Too Princessy!
  • If you're a fan of Jean Reidy, if you're a fan of this series
  • If you have a drama queen of your own to share it with
Animal Masquerade. Marianne Dubac. 2012. Kids Can Press. 120 pages. 

Come one, come all to the animal masquerade. Disguises are a must!
The lion didn't know how he should disguise a cat? as a chicken? as a toad? As...
An Elephant!
The elephant went disguised as...
A parrot.
The parrot went disguised as...
A turtle.
The turtle went disguised as...
Little Red Riding Hood.
Little Red Riding Hood went disguised as...
A chocolate cake.
Uh-oh! The bear has quite a sweet tooth.
Be careful, Little Red Riding Hood!
But the bear was much too slow.
He was a real slowpoke.
So the bear went disguised as...
A snail.
The snail went disguised as...
A tiger.
The tiger went disguised as...

If you're looking for an incredibly silly book, give Animal Masquerade by Marianne Dubuc a try. I think this one has potential, but that potential isn't without risk. It will be hit or miss. Readers will either find the book incredibly funny--causing smiles and giggles--or they won't. (My personal favorite is the porcupine who went disguised as a wiener dog.) If the book was bigger, it might be fun to read aloud to a group. But since it's so small, it would probably be best for sharing with just one child at a time. (Even kids who don't read might find the pictures amusing enough on their own.)

Read Animal Masquerade
  • If you are looking for picture books translated into English; This one was Au carnaval des animaux.  
  • If you like silly animal books
All for Me and None for All. Helen Lester. Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 32 pages.

Gruntly was a ball hog. Not only did he refuse to share his toys with Hampshire and Berkshire, but he helped himself to theirs. Gruntly grabbed Yorky's shoes even though he already had far more shoes than feet. And it got worse. Gruntly constantly snuck up on Woolworth and Cluck to gather more fluff and feathers so he would have the poofiest pillows. If there was a something, he wanted it all. All for himself.

When possible, always give picture books a second read. Sometimes what doesn't impress the first time through grows on you by the second. Not always. But in the case of All for Me And None for All, I am very glad I decided to give it another try. Gruntly is NOT fun to be around. He is greedy and selfish and oh-so-obnoxious. Can he be taught a lesson?

All for Me and None for All is a message book. No doubt about it, this one is all about teaching Gruntly (and presumably the audience) a lesson in manners, in how to behave. Don't be selfish. Don't take more than your fair share. Don't take it all. Share.

Read All for Me and None for All
  • If you like picture books with a message or lesson
  • If you like picture books about pigs (and who doesn't?)

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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