A child’s skepticism takes a header when a vacation with Grandma and Grandpa proves more wild than mild.
After getting his iguana (I Wanna Iguana, 2004) and failing to successfully petition for his own space (I Wanna New Room, 2010), Alex returns for a third time, and now the situation’s truly dire. His parents are taking off for Bora Bora, which means he and his siblings are slated to stay with their grandparents for the duration. Broccoli lasagna and the absence of both video games and computers are bound to lead to a terrible time. In his initial, desperate letters and emails written to his vacationing parents, Alex pleads with them to return ASAP. Yet soon, Alex is singing a different tune, as he discovers square dancing, bingo, stickball and other wonderful aspects of old-folk living. Turns out that two weeks just isn’t enough time. The epistolary picture book is hardly a new genre, but it can prove a difficult one. Orloff handles the format as well as the subject with grace and aplomb. Alex’s gradual acceptance of his doting ancestors plays out believably, pairing beautifully with Catrow’s controlled craziness. The pencils, watercolors and inks find the funny in almost every single spread.
A clever conceit ably rendered; this is bound to prove popular with loving grandparents and caustic kids alike. (Picture book. 4-7)