Sheila McGraw may be best known for her children’s books, including the classic Love You Forever (Munsch, Firefly, 30 million in print) but in her debut thriller/mystery, she’s out of the sandbox and into the hot tub with her very grown-up novel, The Knife Thrower’s Wife. McGraw was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, and moved to Houston, Texas in 2006. At the start of her career, she toiled in the sequin mines of ad agencies and fashion houses as an illustrator and copywriter. In 1986, she was approached by Firefly Books to illustrate Love You Forever. McGraw subsequently wrote and/or illustrated fifteen picture books and how-to craft books (papier-mâché, gifts, sewing, decorating) for children and adults. She has appeared on innumerable TV and radio shows in both the USA and Canada as well as speaking engagements for groups, schools, and art and writing workshops. Her art is collected and shown widely and can be viewed online at www.SheilaMcGraw.com. She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Crime Writers of Canada, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and the Art League of Houston. BIBLIOGRAPHY Love You Forever, Robert Munsch author, Bestseller, #1—New York Times Bestseller List and Publisher's Weekly bestseller List. Thirty million in print. This Old New House, 32 pages. Papier-Mache Today, 144 pages. Bestseller. Papier-Mache for Kids, 72 pages. Bestseller and winner Benjamin Franklin Award. My Mother's Hands, Paul Cline author, 32 pages. My Father's Hands, Paul Cline author, 32 pages. Soft Toys to Sew, 168 pages. Gifts Kids Can Make, 96 pages. Bestseller. Dolls Kids Can Make, 72 pages. I Promise I'll Find You, Heather Ward author, Bestseller. Painting and Decorating Furniture, 304 pages. Bestseller. Lightning Bug Thunder, Katie Burke author, 32 pages. Pussycats Everywhere, 32 pages. Where the Lost Things Go, Barbara Farnsworth author, 32 pages. Snuffy and Vroom Vroom, Elizabeth Lavine author, 32 pages. I Love You Too, I Love You Three, Wendy Tugwood author, 32 pages (fall 2016)
“...this is a rollicking, colorful adventure... A vivid, twisting tale of midlife awakening.”
– Kirkus Reviews
The hugging and rocking back and forth become literal thanks to pull-tabs in this 3-D rendition of the 1986 classic.
Pop-ups take the creepiness of Munsch’s paean to helicopter parenting to a whole new level, as opening gatefolds cause the crawling white (apparently single) mother’s head to rise eerily over the edge of her 2-year-old’s bed and to peer through his door in the night when he’s a teenager. Otherwise the special effects are confined to simple backing and forthing or small, often disjointed motions that add little except physical fragility to the art. The text is unchanged, as are McGraw’s illustrations—which, what with the teen’s Walkman, the touch-tone phones, and the grown-up son’s preppy pullover, have not aged well—and the plot still follows its circular course to the final scene of the young dad rocking a baby who is, to judge from the lack of any visible or narrative evidence of female agency, stolen or adopted.
Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017
Page count: 14pp
Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017
A white mother and young child sing a loving counting rhyme at bedtime.
The narrator mother savors the ritual she shares with her little one. The rhyme itself is a charming, escalating expression of love, and when it reaches 10, it directs the players to “go back and start at one, again.” But in the midst of blowing kisses, putting on pajamas, and all the other bedtime activities, the mother focuses on her own distress at a coming separation and how much she will miss her little one. There is no indication regarding the nature of the separation, whether it is a frequent event or the first time they will be apart. As the child snuggles down to sleep, Tugwood employs overblown syntax with expressions like “crickets sound their mating calls,” and “dreams begin to sprout, then bloom,” which are cloying and way above the understanding of the intended audience. McGraw’s softly hued, slightly fuzzy illustrations add dimension to the tale. When mother’s face is seen, she has a gentle, loving smile for her child, hiding the feelings she expresses in the verse. The little one is seen as wholly joyous and exuberant, loving every moment of the bedtime experiences. Young readers might like the counting rhyme, but they will be confused by the tone and language.
Odd and disturbing.
Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2016
Page count: 24pp
Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016
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