Even though titles about aging grandparents are many, this tale stands out for its stunning simplicity and avoidance of...

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MY GRANDPA

The relationship between grandfather and grandson is evocatively portrayed in this spare but powerful look at the warm interdependency of age and youth.

A bespectacled, light brown, mature bear walks with a cane against a stark white background. A bright red leaf—perhaps signaling the beginning of the autumn season or his time in life—swirls to the ground and briefly captures the bear’s attention before he focuses on a flock of small birds, some red and others brown. “My grandpa is getting old… // Sometimes he feels alone.” A page turn reveals a spunky candy red young bear bursting onto the scene to greet his relative: “But then I come along!” The birds take to the sky, and the duo begins their time together. The language has a gentle and comforting, back-and-forth rhythm. “When he is with me, he smiles. / When I am with him, I can fly!” An especially humorous spread first shows Grandpa’s head buried in a newspaper and then turning up his nose at an offered spoonful from his grandson. “At times he behaves like an old man. / At times he’s like a child.” Although the elder has moments of struggle with his memory or getting lost, the young one comes to the rescue with a hug or a guiding hand. Altés employs an elegant restraint with the book’s design. The limited palette and broad expanse of white space allow the story to truly shine.

Even though titles about aging grandparents are many, this tale stands out for its stunning simplicity and avoidance of heavy-handed messages. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 9, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0588-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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