Sweet and tender and joyful.

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MY GRANDFATHER'S COAT

An immigrant tailor passes the American dream on to new generations, one stitch at a time.

He made a coat for his wedding and wore it for years until it was ragged and torn, at which point he cut it down to make a jacket. The pattern continues, with each item becoming smaller. The jacket became a vest, then a tie, then a toy for a great-grandchild. The worn-out toy provides a nest for a mouse until that also disintegrates into nothing. But, of course there’s more to it, for it is now a wonderful story. Aylesworth takes an old Yiddish folk song and tale and, just like the tailor, brings it to fresh, new life. Two sprightly snatches of singsong repetition accompany the deterioration of each of the garments and the stitching of the new one. “He wore it, and he wore it.…[H]e frayed it, and he tore it” is followed by “he snipped, and he clipped, and he stitched, and he sewed.” Each incarnation comes after years of hard work and rites of passage, only a few of which are stated in the text. McClintock’s depictions of the tailor through his lifetime, rendered in pen, ink and watercolor, are detailed evocations of a warm, loving family. The narrative and illustrations make a perfect whole.

Sweet and tender and joyful. (author’s note, illustrator’s note) (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-439-92545-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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