IF ANIMALS KISSED GOOD NIGHT imagines the bedtime rituals of various animals. The story is sweet, the art beautiful, and the examples of onomatopoeia, alliteration, and rhymes perfect for read-alouds, but what really struck me was how good this book is as a steppingstone to harder, more sophisticated books. Though still very much a book for young children, this narrative uses an expanded vocabulary, with words (mostly verbs) that are not typically common in everyday language (I.e. prance, sway, smooch). There are also a pair of sloths mentioned on the first page and referenced twice more before the end. These callbacks help to illustrate character permanence. There’s a whole series of these books by Ann Whitford Paul and David Walker—highly recommended.
Find more of my children’s book recommendations on instagram @thechildrensbookcritic!