BOY OF THE DEEPS

Wallace tells a story about his grandfather, who worked in the mines. It is a touching tale about the son of a coal miner, who goes with his father for the first time to work underground. “You’ll be a good miner, boy,” says the father. “You have coal in your blood same as me.” His mother tells him, “Take care, my son. You know the deeps is dangerous.” Father and son file into a steel cage and are lowered into the darkness with all the other miners. It is exhausting work, and the boy falls asleep during lunch. While they are working in the afternoon, the ceiling in the mine collapses, knocking them to the ground, and giving them a scare as they dig themselves out. “They headed toward the steel cage, the light, and home. Tomorrow they would go down into the deeps again, for they were miners and that was their job.” Wallace’s simple and direct language gives the story power; the textured and shadowy illustrations, as still as photographs, convey what it was like to grow up long ago, when a boy went to do a man’s work, and toiled willingly alongside his Da. (Picture book. 6-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7894-2569-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999

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THE PARTY

A girl and her sister start off rather glumly in the back seat of the car, leaving all their friends behind, because they are off to a family party. When they arrive, they are kissed by Aunt Joan—the worst—and then there is more kissing and a bunch of cousins just hanging around. But the kids start sharing war stories (hair cuts, lost teeth, split lips) and playing shark on the lawn; there are hideouts under Uncle John’s chair and potato-chip thievery; and then there is all that food beloved of family gatherings, for it is Gran’s birthday. At the end, of course, no one wants to go home. In sprightly rhyme, Reid captures the range of experience, from initial wariness to high hilarity, present at parties full of relatives. Her illustrations, done in painted Plasticine on board, have a wonderful texture, making a Hawaiian shirt, three-bean salad, and Mary Jane shoes pop out of the page. A treat. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-97801-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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LUCKY PENNIES AND HOT CHOCOLATE

Anticipating the visit of a favorite person is half the fun. Planning all the things he likes to do, the narrator of this celebration of childhood, includes telling knock-knock jokes, visiting a construction site, picking up lucky pennies, drinking hot chocolate, cooking, eating and cleaning up together, and just having a good time. What the narrator doesn’t like is putting on scratchy dress-up clothes, eating “funny-looking food,” or watching movies that are too “kissy.” Shields (Martian Rock, 1999, etc.) tells the story from the narrator’s point of view and then delivers a punchy surprise ending for this absolutely charming tale of grandfather and grandson. Nakata’s gentle watercolors for her first picture-book illustrations are alive with color, movement, and humor. They support and extend the text with funny little bits that provoke a grin and a chuckle. The love this grandfather and grandchild have for each other fills every page. A good read-aloud selection for the younger crowd and a nice addition to grandparents’ collections of books to share. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-525-46450-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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