TIGERS & TEA WITH TOPPY by Barbara Kerley

TIGERS & TEA WITH TOPPY

Age Range: 4 - 9
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Rhoda vividly remembers exciting New York weekends with her grandfather Toppy, the artist Charles R. Knight, who created many of the murals at the American Museum of Natural History.

Co-author Kalt—Rhoda herself, now grown up—provides a frame, using their weekend jaunts as an entree into Toppy’s life. Toppy was nearly blind but was nevertheless determined to become a wildlife artist, inspired by childhood visits to the American Museum of Natural History. He took art lessons, studied the animals at the Central Park Zoo, and spent hours at the museum’s taxidermy department. His first assignment was painting a prehistoric creature, working from a skeleton. He used every skill he had developed and brought all his knowledge of animals to the task. In scenes with little Rhoda, Toppy’s impromptu lectures, demonstrations, and expansive invitations provide further insights into his character and artistic achievements. Most important is his gentle insistence that Rhoda follow her own heart in determining her future endeavors. Two voices narrate the tale, in both present and past tenses and across several time periods. It is somewhat awkward, but Kerley maintains a careful balance, and it works. Knight’s own lifelike creations appear interspersed with Stephens’ bright, clever, and whimsical gouaches on watercolor. Rhoda and Toppy are white. In a note, Stephens tells of his own vision impairment and his admiration for Knight, and an excerpt from Knight’s own work is also appended.

A loving remembrance of a tender, enduring intergenerational relationship. (authors’ notes, sources, photos) (Picture book/memoir. 4-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-338-13427-8
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2018




MORE BY BARBARA KERLEY

ChildrenFOLLOWING BAXTER by Barbara Kerley
by Barbara Kerley
ChildrenBRAVE LIKE ME by Barbara Kerley
by Barbara Kerley
ChildrenWITH A FRIEND BY YOUR SIDE by Barbara Kerley
by Barbara Kerley
ChildrenTHE EXTRAORDINARY MARK TWAIN by Barbara Kerley
by Barbara Kerley

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenME AND UNCLE ROMIE by Claire Hartfield
by Claire Hartfield
ChildrenUNCLE ANDY’S CATS by James Warhola
by James Warhola
ChildrenUNCLE ANDY’S by James Warhola
by James Warhola
ChildrenKEITH HARING by Kay Haring
by Kay Haring