A sweetly illustrated story about childhood anxiety and family ties.

READ REVIEW

Don't Forget the Baby

Parents pack for a trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Weidler’s (Ogs and the Oggie Joggie, 2011) children’s picture book.

Mother and Father wake up early one morning and begin to pack, but Baby is still sleeping, so they must be very quiet. The narrator asks the reader: What are they packing for? The answer: a trip to Baby’s grandparents’ house. The car is quickly loaded, and finally, Baby awakes. Mother and Father gather all of Baby’s things, from clothes to toys to bib, but Baby begins to cry; “Don’t Forget the Baby!” says the narrator. Mother and Father assure Baby that they would never forget him; in fact, Baby is the whole reason they’re going to visit Grandma and Grandpa. The family packs into the car, and the next scene shows Grandma and Grandpa welcoming the young family with arms outstretched. “We are so glad to see the Baby!” say Grandma and Grandpa. Baby is happy; he knows that his family loves him and would never, ever forget him. Weidler (aka “Grandpappy Joe”) depicts everyday, charmingly nostalgic scenes of a 1950s family. The storyline is simple, and pre-readers and beginning readers will recognize and empathize with the baby’s anxiety over seemingly being ignored; the parents’ love and reassurance will likely bring a smile of delight to young readers’ faces. Haller’s beautiful images are authentic for the time period. Even when there’s nothing new or exciting going on, the seemingly purposeful repetition of some images may be well suited to the book’s very young audience. There are a few awkward rhymes and inconsistencies (for example, the baby is referred to as both “Baby” and “the Baby”), but the story is, for the most part, solid.

A sweetly illustrated story about childhood anxiety and family ties.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1466387881

Page Count: 38

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2013

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Mostly conservative in its stance and choices but common-sensical and current.

HOW TO RAISE A READER

Savvy counsel and starter lists for fretting parents.

New York Times Book Review editor Paul (My Life With Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues, 2017, etc.) and Russo, the children’s book editor for that publication, provide standard-issue but deftly noninvasive strategies for making books and reading integral elements in children’s lives. Some of it is easier said than done, but all is intended to promote “the natural, timeless, time-stopping joys of reading” for pleasure. Mediumwise, print reigns supreme, with mild approval for audio and video books but discouraging words about reading apps and the hazards of children becoming “slaves to the screen.” In a series of chapters keyed to stages of childhood, infancy to the teen years, the authors supplement their advice with short lists of developmentally appropriate titles—by their lights, anyway: Ellen Raskin’s Westing Game on a list for teens?—all kitted out with enticing annotations. The authors enlarge their offerings with thematic lists, from “Books That Made Us Laugh” to “Historical Fiction.” In each set, the authors go for a mix of recent and perennially popular favorites, leaving off mention of publication dates so that hoary classics like Janice May Udry’s A Tree Is Nice seem as fresh as David Wiesner’s Flotsam and Carson Ellis’ Du Iz Tak? and sidestepping controversial titles and themes in the sections for younger and middle-grade readers—with a few exceptions, such as a cautionary note that some grown-ups see “relentless overparenting” in Margaret Wise Brown’s Runaway Bunny. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series doesn’t make the cut except for a passing reference to its “troubling treatment of Indians.” The teen lists tend to be edgier, salted with the provocative likes of Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give, and a nod to current demands for more LGBTQ and other #ownvoices books casts at least a glance beyond the mainstream. Yaccarino leads a quartet of illustrators who supplement the occasional book cover thumbnails with vignettes and larger views of children happily absorbed in reading.

Mostly conservative in its stance and choices but common-sensical and current.

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5235-0530-2

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Despite Meyer's unusual perspective, this journal contains memorable passages of joy and sorrow for parents and children of...

NO PALTRY THING

MEMOIRS OF A GEEZER DAD

A 70-something reflects on becoming the father of his sixth child at age 59.

Meyer fathered three sons during the Vietnam War era while married to his first wife. A journalism professor at California State University-Long Beach, he entered a second marriage to a student 27 years his junior, fathering two daughters and a son. After much agonizing about balancing career and family, Meyer took early retirement from his teaching to become a parent and a home-based freelance writer. Before his retirement, the first batch of his diary-like entries became a book, 1989's My Summer With Molly: The Journal of a Second Generation Father. After retirement, he became a regular journal-writer, musing about parenting and dozens of related threads. Just as Molly dominated the first collection of entries, son Franz dominates the second collection. At turns doctrinaire, old fuddy-duddy, self-deprecating, melancholy, humorous, even hip, Meyer is a thoughtful guide through daily life. The seemingly oblique title becomes clear in the context of the W.B. Yeats' quotation from which it is derived: "An aged man is but a paltry thing / A tattered coat upon a stick unless / Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing / For every tatter in its mortal dress..." Meyer sounds ageist at times, but throughout, he is determined to fight his own aging and to serve as a good husband and father. Eschewing sentimentality much of the time, Meyer can't help occasionally lapsing into teary-eyed territory. He concludes that "geezer fatherdom" is worth the costs, that "in the end, there is only love, active and remembered, to warm the chill of a cooling universe."

Despite Meyer's unusual perspective, this journal contains memorable passages of joy and sorrow for parents and children of all ages.

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2005

ISBN: 0-942273-05-2

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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