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Naptastrophe!

Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Knopf, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-385-75483-5

Naptime is so unnecessary. And unfair. Lucy, a small rabbit, “[finds] herself in her room. With the lights off. During the daytime.” Her cry of “I’m not tired!” goes unanswered, and she sticks to that story during a trip to the store with Daddy after she is finally liberated from the jail formed by the safety rails on her bed. But as all parents know, something has to give: Lucy has a meltdown in the checkout line (an event that actually resembles a nuclear blast), then conks out at the dinner table, her head plopping into her mac ’n’ cheese. Despite Lucy’s sleep-deprived implosion, Krosoczka (It’s Tough to Lose Your Balloon) may not win over many converts to the joys of napping: like Lucy, more readers probably see naptime as a cross between solitary confinement and FOMO (“Her toys probably missed her. But what if they didn’t?”). But his empathy for his stubborn heroine is never in doubt, and readers will sense that even when Lucy suffers the consequences, she gave it her all. Ages 3–7. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (May)

Reviewed on 03/24/2017 | Details & Permalink

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My Little Cities: New York

Jennifer Adams, illus. by Greg Pizzoli. Chronicle, $9.99 (22p) ISBN 978-1-4521-5388-9

Adams (the Baby Lit series) and Pizzoli (Dragon Was Terrible) offer a zippy tour of the Big Apple in this pitch-perfect board book that paints the city as a town of opposites. “Building high/ Building low/ Moving fast/ Moving slow” takes readers from the Empire State Building to the New York Public Library, from the subway to the Staten Island Ferry as it chugs its way past the Statue of Liberty. Bright colors, speckled textured, and smiley, round-headed citizens (and tourists) create a sense of friendly bustle on every page, and a useful closing spread fills in details about the 10 featured sites. Simultaneously available: My Little Cities: London. Ages 3–5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 03/24/2017 | Details & Permalink

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Charlie Rides: Planes, Trains, Bikes, and More!

Bob Bianchini. Abrams Appleseed, $8.95 (20p) ISBN 978-1-4197-2292-9

“This is Charlie and he loves to ride.../ bikes with Dad when it’s sunny outside.” That’s how debut author-illustrator Bianchini introduces his young, vehicle-loving protagonist. In the pages that follow, readers see him competing in a soapbox derby, sledding “down Gooseberry Hill,” and taking to the skies in an airplane and hot-air balloon—always accompanied by his equally eager father. Bianchini’s cartooning telegraphs the strong bond between father and son, as well as their evident joy in getting out and seeing the world, by any means available. It’d make a fine Father’s Day gift but has broader appeal, too. Ages 3–5. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 03/24/2017 | Details & Permalink

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Let’s Find Momo! A Hide-and-Seek Board Book

Andrew Knapp. Quirk, $9.99 (24p) ISBN 978-1-59474-958-2

Momo, the border collie previously seen in Find Momo and Find Momo Coast to Coast—not to mention Knapp’s popular Instagram feed—makes his board book debut. Upping the seek-and-find ante, children are asked to locate three objects in addition to Momo in Knapp’s 12 photographed scenes, which include an immaculately kept sewing nook, gymnasium, tractor, and VW bus. (Careful readers may also notice a teddy bear attempting to steal Momo’s spotlight, doing some hiding of its own in the spreads.) Knapp puts care into the framing of each shot (including separate photos of each object to locate)—parents and children will enjoy poring over each image together. Ages 2–5. Agent: Judy Linden, Stonesong. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 03/24/2017 | Details & Permalink

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Before & After

Jean Jullien. Phaidon, $12.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7148-7408-1

Jullien follows This Is Not a Book with another deviously playful board book, this time looking at cause and effect. The opening scene, featuring a couple standing belly to bulging belly (she’s pregnant, he’s not), gives a good sense of the book’s irreverent sense of humor. Jullien establishes a steady rhythm in pages labeled “before” and “after” but isn’t afraid to break it: a foldout spread shows the “during” of a roller-coaster ride that began with calm anticipation and ended with shock for a father and his son. Though perhaps not as inspired as its predecessor, it’s still rewarding, thought-provoking, and quite funny. Ages 2–4. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 03/24/2017 | Details & Permalink

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Time for Bed

Illus. by Thierry Bedouet. Twirl (Chronicle, dist.), $12.99 (12p) ISBN 978-2-74598-177-6

If only putting kids to bed were always this easy: by pulling on a series of embedded tabs, readers can help animal parents tuck in their little ones, transforming images of tender bedtime exchanges into ones of contentedly sleeping crocodiles, kangaroos, and other animals. Each child has an excuse at the ready (“No, no, Daddy. It’s too dark!” complains an orange monkey), which is calmly and compassionately deflected by its parent (“Don’t worry, little monkey. I’ll leave the door open,” says the monkey’s father). Bedouet’s cartooning has a lovely retro aesthetic, and the smooth pull-tab action could almost have some children believing that falling asleep is as easy as flipping a switch. Ages 1–4. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 03/24/2017 | Details & Permalink

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In the Beginning

Susana Gay and Owen Gay. Ideals, $6.99 (16p) ISBN 978-0-8249-1992-4

In a modest but handsome recap of the creation story, the Gays briskly walk readers through the making of light, the sea, the land, animals, and humankind. The straightforward text doesn’t draw any attention to itself (“Then God made the sun and the moon and the stars”), but the crisp, graphic artwork makes a strong visual impact: when darkness gives way to light, a white circle appears against a midnight blue field, casting a flashlightlike beam that illuminates a pale sky and fluffy clouds. The animals that show up later are as cute as toys, and (an unnamed) Adam and Eve make appearances, behind large, modesty-protecting leaves. Simultaneously available: Noah’s Ark. Ages 1–3. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 03/24/2017 | Details & Permalink

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Babies Around the World

Puck, illus. by Violet Lemay. Duopress (Workman, dist.), $7.95 (20p) ISBN 978-1-938093-87-6

This multilingual board book greets children in eight languages as it makes its way around the globe over the course of a day. Airy lines, a patchwork of patterns, and splashy colors create a mood of carefree energy in each city: “Bom dia, mundo (Good morning, world),” offers a Brazilian baby as it crawls across a sandy Rio beach, the statue of Christ the Redeemer towering over the landscape in the distance. In Egypt, a woman wearing a Cairo T-shirt and hijab holds up her daughter, as though readers are a guest in their home: “Marhabaan ‘asdiqa’. (Hello, friends).” Although the languages aren’t identified, only the cities, it’s a lovely portrait of kindness without borders. Up to age 5. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 03/24/2017 | Details & Permalink

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Sweet Dreams, Baby

Emma Dodd. Barron’s, $6.99 (10p) ISBN 978-0-7641-6885-7

In one of two books launching the Sprinkle with Kisses series, Dodd delivers a gentle recipe for a good night’s sleep, at least where babies are concerned. “Take one sleepy baby and a great big yawn,” she begins. “Add some beautiful dreams to dream until dawn.” Dodd’s images are as cuddly as her rhymes; featuring a chubby Caucasian baby and a medley of nursery-friendly patterns (stripes, polka dots, hearts, stars), they also incorporate tiny die-cut shapes that give the pages additional tactile dimension. Though not especially distinctive, it’s an undeniably comforting affair. Simultaneously available: A Spoonful for Bunny. Up to age 3. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 03/24/2017 | Details & Permalink

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On the Go

Illus. by Jean Claude. Amicus Ink (Chronicle, dist.), $9.99 (14p) ISBN 978-1-68152-201-2

The First Words and Pictures series kicks off with two titles, including this polished-looking guide to vehicles of all sorts, which are collected in seven thematic spreads. Big blocks of color create an eye-catching checkerboard backdrop for each scene, including ones devoted to air travel (a pilot and flight attendant appear alongside a helicopter, glider, and other vehicles), emergencies (featuring police cars, fire trucks, and the stations both return to), as well as construction and aquatic vehicles. The digital graphics vary in their level of detail, and at times look a bit too much like old clip art, but vehicle-obsessed kids probably won’t mind. Simultaneously available: Animals. Up to age 3. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 03/24/2017 | Details & Permalink

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