GRANDMA

A little boy adjusts to changes as his beloved grandmother ages and becomes infirm.

Oscar loves his grandma, and he loves the things they do together, like riding on their scooters and playing on the seesaw. When she “doesn’t feel like playing,” they find other ways to enjoy each other’s company. But now there are many things she can no longer do, and she must move to a place where she will be cared for. Oscar, his dad and his younger sibling visit Grandma, meeting her caregivers and other residents. Sometimes Grandma shouts and gets angry when she cannot remember things, but other times she tells Oscar stories about her life. The sweet, squiggly pictures show that Grandma visited Paris, went camping and jumped out of an airplane (with a parachute but without a helmet). Oscar is clear about how the changes in Grandma upset him, but he says that friends and family take care of him and make him feel better. Notes at the end give more details about dementia. Oscar’s voice is naïve and prone to inexactitude, and the tale overall is very purposive, clearly created to help other children in Oscar’s situation. Though it lacks the artistry of Mem Fox and Julie Viva’s Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge (1989), it has a useful charm. (Picture book. 5-7)

 

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-84643-602-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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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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HUNGRY! HUNGRY! HUNGRY!

In this moderately effective "jump" story, a lad anxiously questions a distracted-looking, green-skinned goblin as he watches it ransack his house: " 'Why have you got such a big fat bum?' 'Squishing things and squashing things . . .' 'Why have you got such a grumbly tum?' 'Hungry! Hungry! Hungry!' ” The arced lines of text are printed in dialogue balloons, and Hess views the domestic destruction from canted or rolling perspectives in which food, garbage, shampoo, and small toys fly as the goblin shambles along in a cloud of spattered paint or ink. At last the interloper winds up in the lad's bedroom: " ‘What have you come for?' 'YOU!' ” But, as lifting the concluding gatefold reveals, the goblin will accept a jelly bean instead. "A Dark, Dark Room" it's not, but read aloud with the proper gusto it should elicit a few belly laughs, as well as a mild climactic jolt, and the art is unusually fascinating. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-56145-214-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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