Gigot demonstrates that resourcefulness and love go a long way even if time and money are short.

IMAGINATION VACATION

Some families go on staycations, but Sam takes Mom, Dad, and little sister Marla to all the places they want to visit most.

How does Sam accomplish it? The determined narrator pursues “a little research” (including reading the classic This Is Paris by M. Šašek), “rummage[s] through the closet, and gather[s] some supplies.” Sam turns the kitchen into a French bakery before taking the family on a walk to the Champs Élysées (in reality, the street that leads to the city park, entered via an arch). In the park, Sam “pass[es] out field books and binoculars.” The playground elephant slide and the zebra spring riders become real animals. After Mom has her trip to Paris and Dad enjoys the Serengeti, it’s Marla’s turn. She wants to see penguins. Sam takes them to the ice rink and names it “Antarctica!” The family marvels at an orca, icebergs, and a line of penguins, revealed to be a black-and-white Zamboni machine, painted icebergs, and a little squadron of penguin-capped skaters. By now, the once-indefatigable guide is exhausted and just wants to go home and play a board game (readers will recall Sam sitting with it at the beginning). The pleasantly humorous illustrations reveal some of the secrets that help Sam’s family (all present white) have a great time.

Gigot demonstrates that resourcefulness and love go a long way even if time and money are short. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-3619-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

ROBOBABY

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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While the amusing scenario may prove to be more a nostalgia trip for adult readers than something today’s kids will...

OY FEH SO?

Weekly Sunday visits from their two aunts and one uncle are so disagreeable that three children take steps to alter the atmosphere through some harmlessly exaggerated imitation.

Each Sunday afternoon the family guests arrive, heavily plop themselves on the living room furniture, and make negative, complaining and resigned statements. “Oy,” says Aunt Essy. “Feh,” says Aunt Chanah. “So?” says Uncle Sam. “That was all they ever said!” Despite the children’s parents’ attempts to make pleasant conversation or the children’s enthusiastic play-acting performed for the guests, the reaction is always the same uncongenial three words. Ink-and-watercolor illustrations depict Essy, Chanah and Sam with unflattering caricatures of stereotypical adult Jewish characters, with clownishly large noses, slouchy, overweight bodies and unsmiling faces. In exasperation, the children each take a role and comically mimic their aunts’ and uncle’s behavior, forcing laughter and recognition. This mishpocheh now redeems itself with a newfound willingness to tell family stories and loving childhood memories; the palette here modulates from muted tones to bright, sunny colors.

While the amusing scenario may prove to be more a nostalgia trip for adult readers than something today’s kids will immediately recognize, they will appreciate the overall sentiment even if they miss the Yiddish essence. Nu? (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55498-148-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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