In the end it won’t be hard to feel empathy for both kids, doing their best to get along.


Coping with a younger, rambunctious, adoring sibling is reflected in a child’s complaining yet fond lament.

In this child’s eyes, younger brother looks and acts like a little monkey, complete with long curving tail enabling him to hang upside down from lamps and to wreak chaos everywhere, especially where he should not be, such as in the narrator’s bedroom. Black-outlined cartoons, often presented in several sequenced scenes on a page, feature an exasperated older white child with unruly red hair reacting to the younger, seemingly simian sib, who trails about incessantly, interrupts with hugs, invades every space, and copies every move. But halfway through this rant, the narrator acquiesces to some of the good in having a hero-worshiping little brother who tries to help and even plays cooperatively. And when necessary, they can team up against the disruption of an elephantlike baby sister, introduced in the final double-page spread. “Once in a while, the little guy surprises me. / And I remember that my little brother can be pretty fun sometimes and even kind of sweet.” Negative and positive are balanced, ending on an upbeat tone; older siblings everywhere will recognize the challenges inherent in showing unconditional love despite their occasional resentment.

In the end it won’t be hard to feel empathy for both kids, doing their best to get along. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-600-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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Intended as an amusing parody, this groans with outdated irrelevance and immaturity.


While spending the day with Grandpa, young Goldie offers tips on the care and keeping of grandparents.

Though “loyal and loving,” Goldie’s grandfather proves to be quite a character. At Grandparents Day at school, his loud greeting and incessant flatulence are embarrassing, but Goldie is confident that he—and all grandparents—can be handled with the “right care and treatment.” The young narrator notes that playtime should involve the imagination rather than technology—“and NO video games. It’s just too much for them.” Goldie observes that grandparents “live on a diet of all the things your parents tell them are bad for them” but finds that Grandpa’s favorite fast-food restaurant does make for a great meal out. The narrator advises that it’s important for grandparents to get plenty of exercise; Grandpa’s favorite moves include “the Bump, the Hustle, and the Funky Chicken.” The first-person instruction and the artwork—drawn in a childlike scrawl—portray this grandfather in a funny, though unflattering, stereotypical light as he pulls quarters from Goldie’s ears, burps on command, and invites Goldie to pull his finger. Goldie’s grandfather seems out of touch with today’s more tech-savvy and health-oriented older people who are eager to participate with their grandchildren in contemporary activities. Though some grandparent readers may chuckle, kids may wonder how this mirrors their own relationships. Goldie and Grandpa are light-skinned; Goldie’s classmates are diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Intended as an amusing parody, this groans with outdated irrelevance and immaturity. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-24932-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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Cheng’s story of a Chinese-speaking grandfather who comes to live with his daughter’s English-speaking family ably communicates the difficulties of the language barrier, and the unanticipated joys that come from working your way through that barrier. Helen is ambivalent about the arrival of her grandfather, Gong Gong, from China. She wants to know her grandfather, but she has had to surrender her room and her cherished view of the train tracks to him. Worst of all, he doesn’t understand what she says, and as she doesn’t understand him, he withdraws. Her mother says to give him some space and time. One day while Helen is sitting on the back wall, Gong Gong joins her, and together they count the train cars as the freight rumbles past. Contact. Helen learns the first eight numbers in Chinese and Gong Gong learns them in English. From there it is a short leap to Helen’s Chinese name and its Chinese characters, and then the letters used to spell Helen. That every journey starts with a first step is a commonplace conceit, but here the notion fits so snugly the point practically sings, and it feels like an adventurous beginning at that. Lushly colored artwork from Zhang is both elegant and captures the moods of tentativeness, surprise, and satisfaction. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2000

ISBN: 1-58430-010-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2000

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