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CAN WE PLEASE GIVE THE POLICE DEPARTMENT TO THE GRANDMOTHERS?

A refreshing homage to the power of intergenerational relationships and potent alternative to policing.

This picture book based on Petrus’ poem, written in the wake of the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, asks: What if grandmothers replaced the police who patrol American neighborhoods?

Petrus and Uroda paint a lively, upbeat, attitude-filled portrait of matriarchs cruising neighborhoods in “badass” vintage squad cars, playing awesome Afrocentric music, and picking up kids getting up to no good. A grandma peering over her glasses can make a kid “catch shame,” and rather than locking them up, grandmas would take kids home, feed them, cook and meditate with them, help them with homework, and love them up. Taking readers into Black kitchens, gardens, bedrooms, and other loving spaces, this book offers a village solution to raising Black children that excludes incarceration. In one scene, a white-haired grandmother with brown skin gazes into the eyes of a brown-skinned child wearing a colorful head wrap, and as she holds the child’s cheeks, she acknowledges “the light in you with no hesitation” because “she loves you fiercely forever.” Unconditional love and community-based care lie at the heart of this radical and linguistically delicious picture book that invites conversations about relationships in communities of color. Uroda’s luminous illustrations capture the verve, courage, and sensuality of grandmas (who sometimes look like grandpas—a nod to gender inclusivity and complex grand-families); the richness of Black and brown communities; and the resources they possess to heal their own wounds. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A refreshing homage to the power of intergenerational relationships and potent alternative to policing. (Picture book. 7-14)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-46233-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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HOLES

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this...

Sentenced to a brutal juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit, a wimpy teenager turns four generations of bad family luck around in this sunburnt tale of courage, obsession, and buried treasure from Sachar (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, 1995, etc.).

Driven mad by the murder of her black beau, a schoolteacher turns on the once-friendly, verdant town of Green Lake, Texas, becomes feared bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow, and dies, laughing, without revealing where she buried her stash. A century of rainless years later, lake and town are memories—but, with the involuntary help of gangs of juvenile offenders, the last descendant of the last residents is still digging. Enter Stanley Yelnats IV, great-grandson of one of Kissin' Kate's victims and the latest to fall to the family curse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; under the direction of The Warden, a woman with rattlesnake venom polish on her long nails, Stanley and each of his fellow inmates dig a hole a day in the rock-hard lake bed. Weeks of punishing labor later, Stanley digs up a clue, but is canny enough to conceal the information of which hole it came from. Through flashbacks, Sachar weaves a complex net of hidden relationships and well-timed revelations as he puts his slightly larger-than-life characters under a sun so punishing that readers will be reaching for water bottles.

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-374-33265-5

Page Count: 233

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

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A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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