A sweet celebration of intergenerational slowpokery

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GRANDMA IS A SLOWPOKE

An unnamed little girl likes to go on long walks across the countryside with her grandmother…but Grandma, who walks with a cane, is a slowpoke.

As they set out, they hear bird song; it turns out to be cardinals, and the duo whistles back to the birds. Then Grandma stops to point out ants carrying large seeds. They spend a long time watching rabbits in the grass. When they walk on, they see brown squirrels in a tree, which makes the girl think it would be fun to live there. They see bathing ducks. They count baby geese. And they watch muskrats swim in the river until the fireflies come. When they return after dark, the girl says, “We saw so-o-o-o-o much!...It was fun being slowpokes together.” Halfmann’s nature walk from a child’s perspective is spot-on, neatly capturing the grandparent-grandchild dynamic. The accompanying animal facts at the close, several about each of the animals encountered, will interest young naturalists. Coxon’s full-bleed illustrations are more successful with the animals than the people, who look stiff and posed; the realistic animals and habitats are meticulously detailed, and the interiors of the country house are cozy. The child wears glasses; she and her family are all white.

A sweet celebration of intergenerational slowpokery . (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59572-710-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Star Bright

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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