A beautiful example of artistic bookmaking, a story of family love and lore, and the magic of music personified in a way...

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GUS & ME

THE STORY OF MY GRANDDAD AND MY FIRST GUITAR

What makes music the heart and center of a life? In this case, it is a grandfather who lives in a house full of “instruments and cake.”

When Keith visits his granddad Gus, they walk everywhere, and Gus hums tunes and symphonies as they wander through towns and villages—even all the way to London. In the workshop of a music store there, Keith is taken by the guitars. When he is tall enough, Gus promises, Keith can have the guitar that sits on top of the piano in his house. When that moment comes, Gus teaches Keith “Malagueña,” because then he “can play anything.” This is all told so naturally and with such sweet verve that readers may not notice that this is the legendary guitarist of the Rolling Stones. The vibrant and evocative pictures are done by Richards’ daughter, named for her great-grandfather. Over swathes of rich color she lays pen-and-ink drawings of figures and instruments, architectural details, free-floating musical notes—and cakes and tea things—that brilliantly carry the power of love and music into visual imagery. A CD of the author reading the story and playing a bit of “Malagueña” is included, and it is pretty wonderful, too.

A beautiful example of artistic bookmaking, a story of family love and lore, and the magic of music personified in a way that’s utterly accessible to children—and their dazzled parents. (biographical note, photographs) (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-316-32065-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Megan Tingley/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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Positively refreshing.

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HAIR LOVE

A black girl helps her dad learn how to give her the perfect hairstyle for a very special day.

Zuri’s voluminous head of hair “has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way.” She is pictured asleep with a large Afro framing her face. She is proud of her hair, which she sometimes wears in braids with beads like a princess and other times in pigtail puffs. But today is a special day. She knows Daddy is “worn-out” and probably needs a break, so she lets him sleep in while she looks up hairstyles on a tablet. When Daddy wakes and offers to help, he tries a series of hairstyles that just don’t work. Finally, Zuri grabs some hair supplies and shows him a tutorial. “Watching carefully… / Daddy combed, / parted, oiled, and twisted. / He nailed it!” Zuri is lovely and happy with her freshly done hairstyle, and when Mommy arrives to their “Welcome Home” sign, she loves Zuri’s look too. The digital illustrations feature details that feel just right: Zuri’s thick, textured hair, Daddy’s locs and tattoo, and dark-skinned Mom’s bright headwrap. While it’s unclear where Mommy is returning from (she is dressed casually and has a rolling black suitcase), this authentic depiction of a loving and whole black family broadens the scope of representation.

Positively refreshing. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55336-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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A good choice for just those days when Mom and Dad do go away and leave their children in charge of Grandpa.

HOW TO BABYSIT A GRANDPA

From the How To... series

Reagan’s second outing is a tongue-in-cheek reversal of roles as a young boy instructs readers on how best to entertain and care for a grandpa while Mom and Dad are away.

First, he instructs them to hide when Grandpa rings the doorbell—resist the wiggles and giggles, and only pop out when he gives up. Then, reassure him that Mom and Dad will be back and distract him with a snack—heavy on the ice cream, cookies, ketchup and olives. Throughout the day, the narrator takes his grandpa for a walk, entertains him, plays with him, puts him down for a nap and encourages him to clean up before Mom and Dad’s return. Lists on almost every spread give readers a range of ideas for things to try, provided their grandfathers are not diabetic or arthritic, or have high blood pressure or a heart condition. These lists also provide Wildish with lots of fodder for his vignette illustrations. His digital artwork definitely focuses on the humor, with laugh-out-loud scenes and funny hidden details. And his characters’ expressive faces also help to fill in the grandfather-grandson relationship that Reagan's deadpan narrative leaves unstated.

A good choice for just those days when Mom and Dad do go away and leave their children in charge of Grandpa. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86713-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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