THE CHILDREN WHO SMELLED A RAT

Madcap, zany adventures follow the Gaskitt family in these 16 chapters of fun. Part graphic novel, part breathless action-packed soap opera, the focus this time is on the children—twins, Gus and Gloria, and baby Gary. Ahlberg and McEwen have collaborated on three previous Gaskitt tales and the humor, high-spirits and appeal remain high. So many stories happen at the same time: Will Mr. Gaskitt catch the runaway grocery cart, even when it ends up on a ship? What is wrong with the children’s teacher, Mrs. Fritter? Has she taken one too many bonks to the head? Is Gus the evil twin, or is Gloria? Or is there another? How many packages will Mrs. Gaskitt find in her cab? And where are the tattooed lady in a white dress and the man in the gorilla suit going? Ahlberg manages to keep a loose but necessary grip on the narrative, interjecting hilarious comments and commercials along the way. McEwen’s whimsical watercolor-and-crayon illustrations and clever designs add to the hilarity. A rare treat for new readers. (Fiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7636-2870-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

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BECAUSE YOUR DADDY LOVES YOU

Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

J.D. AND THE FAMILY BUSINESS

From the J.D. the Kid Barber series , Vol. 2

A strong second outing for Dillard and J.D.

Breakout kid barber J.D. embraces a summer of opportunity.

Readers met J.D. Jones just as he took his hometown of Meridian, Mississippi, by storm, winning himself community acclaim and a chair at the revered Hart and Sons barbershop in series opener J.D. and the Great Barber Battle(2021). What’s next for the haircut prodigy? School’s just getting out, and there’s so much life happening outside—if only one can escape home learning with the grandparents. J.D.’s sister, Vanessa, brings along multitalented mutual friend Jessyka to share an ambitious challenge: “Let’s start a YouTube channel!” Can they get millions of views and wow the whole world? They are already amazing at haircuts and hairstyles—all they need is to learn how to make a great YouTube video. The story models strategies for scripting short videos reflecting the templates of viral YouTube hair tutorials, inviting readers to not only see the journey of the characters, but maybe also practice these skills at home. This book is bound to educate all about some of the most storied and cherished traditions within the Black community. Bringing in Vanessa is a great touch to extend the series across gender, and hopefully she’ll get a chance to lead her own adventures. This book blends skill-building, entrepreneurship, and strong family values to give young Black children visions of what’s possible when they follow their passions and embrace their community.

A strong second outing for Dillard and J.D. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11155-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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