ANNA ALL YEAR ROUND

Nothing very special happens in Hahn’s beguiling slice-of-life novel, set in Baltimore at a time when gaslight illuminated the streets and commuters traveled by trolley. Eight-year-old Anna outgrows her old coat, dares to go down a steep hill on roller-skates, tricks her mother into giving her a birthday party, and plays tag with her friends. What makes the book stand up and shout are not the ordinary events Hahn delineates, but her powerful depiction of the childhood emotions that accompany the inevitable process of growing up. Anna is a great girl, earnest and well-meaning, full of grit, determination, and heart. The book, which is episodic, is divided into four sections—one for every season—and every chapter chronicles a brief incident in vivid, simple prose, ably highlighted by deGroat’s straightforward black-and-white illustrations of the era. Life was different in 1913, but the core issues that children face—whether to cheat to save face, or to accept a dare that’s too hard—are timeless, and young readers should find Anna’s experiences meaningful.  (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-86975-7

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999

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WAITING FOR BABY

One of a four-book series designed to help the very young prepare for new siblings, this title presents a toddler-and-mother pair (the latter heavily pregnant) as they read about new babies, sort hand-me-downs, buy new toys, visit the obstetrician and the sonographer, speculate and wait. Throughout, the child asks questions and makes exclamations with complete enthusiasm: “How big is the baby? What does it eat? I felt it move! Is it a boy or girl?” Fuller’s jolly pictures present a biracial family that thoroughly enjoys every moment together. It’s a bit oversimplified, but no one can complain about the positive message it conveys, appropriately, to its baby and toddler audience. The other titles in the New Baby series are My New Baby (ISBN: 978-1-84643-276-7), Look at Me! (ISBN: 978-1-84643-278-1) and You and Me (ISBN: 978-1-84643-277-4). (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84643-275-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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LUCKY PENNIES AND HOT CHOCOLATE

Anticipating the visit of a favorite person is half the fun. Planning all the things he likes to do, the narrator of this celebration of childhood, includes telling knock-knock jokes, visiting a construction site, picking up lucky pennies, drinking hot chocolate, cooking, eating and cleaning up together, and just having a good time. What the narrator doesn’t like is putting on scratchy dress-up clothes, eating “funny-looking food,” or watching movies that are too “kissy.” Shields (Martian Rock, 1999, etc.) tells the story from the narrator’s point of view and then delivers a punchy surprise ending for this absolutely charming tale of grandfather and grandson. Nakata’s gentle watercolors for her first picture-book illustrations are alive with color, movement, and humor. They support and extend the text with funny little bits that provoke a grin and a chuckle. The love this grandfather and grandchild have for each other fills every page. A good read-aloud selection for the younger crowd and a nice addition to grandparents’ collections of books to share. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-525-46450-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

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