embarrassing situation after another.

Previously met in I Hate Camping (1991) and I Hate Company (1994), young Dan goes from pillar to post when he’s asked

to be Best Man at his father’s second wedding. His determination to make a good impression on Joan, his father’s wife-to-be and herself a divorced mother of two, nearly founders on a string of mischances, from ill-timed kitchen messes to a disastrous late-night sortie for pizza with Riley, his prospective younger stepbrother. In the end, Dan’s mixed feelings, fueled by the gnawing fear that his father will no longer have time for him, are skillfully allayed, and he surreptitiously saves the day when Riley’s tarantula, Melvin, escapes during the ceremony. The characters, including the adults, are drawn in low but distinct relief, emotional issues are laid out without being overanalyzed, and readers will wince in sympathy as Dan finds himself in one

embarrassing situation after another. (illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-525-46327-5

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2000



There is something profoundly elemental going on in Smalls’s book: the capturing of a moment of unmediated joy. It’s not melodramatic, but just a Saturday in which an African-American father and son immerse themselves in each other’s company when the woman of the house is away. Putting first things first, they tidy up the house, with an unheralded sense of purpose motivating their actions: “Then we clean, clean, clean the windows,/wipe, wipe, wash them right./My dad shines in the windows’ light.” When their work is done, they head for the park for some batting practice, then to the movies where the boy gets to choose between films. After a snack, they work their way homeward, racing each other, doing a dance step or two, then “Dad takes my hand and slows down./I understand, and we slow down./It’s a long, long walk./We have a quiet talk and smile.” Smalls treats the material without pretense, leaving it guileless and thus accessible to readers. Hays’s artwork is wistful and idyllic, just as this day is for one small boy. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-79899-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999



PLB 0-517-70967-8 Me And My Family Tree (32 pp.; $13.00; PLB $14.99; May; 0-517-70966-X; PLB 0-517-70967-8): For children who are naturally curious about the people who care for them (most make inquiries into family relationships at an early age), Sweeney explains, with the assistance of a young narrator, the concept of a family tree. Photographs become understandable once the young girl learns the relationships among family members; she wonders what her own family tree will look like when she marries and has children. A larger message comes at the end of this story: not only does she have a family tree, but so does everyone in the world. Cable’s drawings clearly define the process of creating a family tree; she provides a blank tree so children can start on their own geneaology.(Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-517-70966-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1999

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