THE LONG, LONG LETTER

Aunt Hetta is lonely. She lives too far from town for friends, and her kith and kin haven't written. By her mailbox she pines, then fires off a postcard to her sister. ``Have you quite forgotten me?'' suggests Hetta, ladling on the guilt. So the sister spends a year penning a long letter that requires a thousand stamps to post: ``She wrote of cabbages and crocuses, sausages and shoes. The newly born, the price of corn, the cranking phone she'd never use.'' As the massive missive is being trundled to its destination, a fierce wind blows the pages skyward. Now airmail, the letter falls to earth like snow, burying Hetta. The whole town turns out to rescue her from the storm of words and Hetta gains a gaggle of new friends. Spurr (The Gumdrop Tree, 1994, etc.) lets the sister's son narrate this paean to the lost art of letter writing in a rollicking, tongue-in-cheek style. Catrow teases the story for all its humor, at one point turning Hetta into a raptor as she keeps ``a hawk's watch'' on her letterbox. A jolly tall tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 8, 1996

ISBN: 0-7868-0127-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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This silly take on role reversal will have preschoolers and early-elementary children plotting their own babysitting jobs.

HOW TO BABYSIT A GRANDMA

From the How To... series

Reagan and Wildish create a humorous follow-up how-to tale in this companion to How to Babysit a Grandpa (2012).

“When you babysit a grandma, if you’re lucky…it’s a sleepover at her house.” A committed, pigtailed girl is excited to take on this huge responsibility. A narrative set in conventional black type explains the pacing of the day, and a more informal purple style is utilized for notes or lists of ideas to be considered by a babysitter. The book has a busy look, with some pages containing multiple vignettes showcasing the duo’s visit to the park or playing inside, while other, double-page spreads allow readers’ eyes to linger on the pair’s quieter moments, such as when they eat dinner, gaze at the stars or make shadow puppets on the wall. Parents and children alike will giggle at all the things the granddaughter has planned, along with her helpful pointers. Foods do taste “yummier” with sprinkles, and shouting “Ta-dah!” does make someone feel special after they have dressed up. After a jam-packed day of fun, morning comes and with it, “the hardest part: goodbye time.”

This silly take on role reversal will have preschoolers and early-elementary children plotting their own babysitting jobs. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-75384-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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