DADDY, PAPA, AND ME

As the title indicates, a smiling tot describes his role within a nurturing two-dad family. In rhyming text, “Daddy helps me paint the sky. / Papa helps me bake a pie,” and so on till bedtime. Thompson provides warm, mixed-media illustrations of the happy trio against clean white backgrounds as they play and keep house together. Together with the corresponding Mommy, Mama, and Me (ISBN: 978-1-58246-263-9), it gives children with single-sex parents validation of their family structures in a healthy, positive way. Although it’s not mentioned in the text, the illustrations in each one gently point to mixed-race households as well. Toddlers with two moms or two dads don’t care about gender politics, they care about love, and this is what these two books give them. (12-36 mos.)

Pub Date: May 5, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-58246-262-2

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2009

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THE BIG NOTHING

From the Neighborhood series , Vol. 3

Big brother Duane is off in boot camp, and Justin is left trying to hold the parental units together. Fat, acne-ridden, and missing his best friend Ben, who’s in the throes of his first boy-girl relationship with Cass, Justin’s world is dreary. It gets worse when he realizes that all of his mother’s suspicions about his father are probably true, and that Dad may not return from his latest business trip. Surprisingly ultra-cool Jemmie, who is also missing her best friend, Cass, actually recognizes his existence and her grandmother invites Justin to use their piano in the afternoons when Jemmie’s at cross-country practice. The “big nothing” place, where Justin retreats in time of trouble, is a rhythmic world and soon begins to include melody and provide Justin with a place to express himself. Practice and discipline accompany this gradual exploration of his talent. The impending war in Iraq gives this story a definite place in time, and its distinct characters make it satisfying and surprisingly realistic. Misfit finds fit. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2004

ISBN: 1-56145-326-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2004

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THE RIVER BETWEEN US

“Imagine an age when there were still people around who’d seen U.S. Grant with their own eyes, and men who’d voted for Lincoln.” Fifteen-year-old Howard Leland Hutchings visits his father’s family in Grand Tower, Illinois, in 1916, and meets four old people who raised his father. The only thing he knows about them is that they lived through the Civil War. Grandma Tilly, slender as a girl but with a face “wrinkled like a walnut,” tells Howard their story. Sitting up on the Devil’s Backbone overlooking the Mississippi River, she “handed over the past like a parcel.” It’s a story of two mysterious women from New Orleans, of ghosts, soldiers, and seers, of quadroons, racism, time, and the river. Peck writes beautifully, bringing history alive through Tilly’s marvelous voice and deftly handling themes of family, race, war, and history. A rich tale full of magic, mystery, and surprise. (author’s note) (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-8037-2735-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2003

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