This week I’m reviewing another debut picture book, out soon from Janet Sumner Johnson, a member of the fabulous 2020 Debut Crew!

HELP WANTED: MUST LOVE BOOKS will be out March 1 from Capstone.  

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Written by: Janet Sumner Johnson

Illustrated by: Courtney Dawson

Capstone Editions, March 1, 2020; fiction

For ages: 4-7

Themes/topics: books, bedtime, parent-child relationships, fairy tales

First spread:

Unlike most kids, Shailey loved bedtime.

She’d shimmy into her pj’s, brush her sparkling smile, then raid the bookshelf for the perfect bedtime stories.

Summary (from the publisher):

Shailey loves bedtime, especially reading with her dad. But her dad starts a new job, and it gets in the way of their bedtime routine. So Shailey takes action! She fires her dad, posts a Help Wanted sign, and starts interviews immediately. She is thrilled when her favorite characters from fairytales line up to apply. But Sleeping Beauty can’t stay awake, the Gingerbread Man steals her book, and Snow White brings along her whole team. Shailey is running out of options. Is bedtime ruined forever?

Why I like this book:

This story checks all the boxes. Books? Check! Fairy tale mash-up? Check! Spot-on humor for both kids and adults? Check! A heart-warming father-daughter relationship? Check! A valuable takeaway that is not didactic? Check! Warm, inviting illustrations? Check! Check! Check!

Kids will love seeing their favorite fairy tale characters interview for the job of reading to Shailey and then watching as Shailey determines why each one isn’t quite right for the job. This story is super relatable for both kids and adults. What kid hasn’t wanted to “fire” a parent who’s fallen down on the job? And as a parent, I’ve definitely gotten busy and overwhelmed and missed important and beloved family rituals like bedtime stories. Plus, I adore Shailey’s evolving “Help Wanted” sign and admire her perseverance. I highly recommend this funny and adorable picture book!

Idea for educators:  After reading, ask kids how they think other fairy tale characters might fare if interviewing for this position. How would their favorite superhero do? Or their favorite picture book or movie character?

(For a colossal collection of picture book reviews, please visit this page on Susanna’s site:

4 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: HELP WANTED: MUST LOVE BOOKS

  1. Wow! This one hits all the marks! And I LOVE that cover. Bedtime reading was one of my son’s favorite times, too, although he wasn’t always convinced that it included closing his eyes, LOL. I’ll be adding it to my TBR list. Thanks for the rec!

    Liked by 1 person

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