RELATIVELY SPEAKING

POEMS ABOUT FAMILY

PLB 0-531-33141-5 In what amounts to a novel in poems, a narrator, 11, declares his satisfaction at “Being The Youngest,” introduces his big brother (“God’s Gift to Girls”), who later has a scary brush with death, watches his grandmother plant tulip bulbs “in that dirty confusion/of bulb and knuckle,/knuckle and bulb,” observes several relatives at a huge family reunion, tracks his mother’s pregnancy, and, after his sister is born, finds pleasure in “Being A Middle Child,” too. In easygoing free verse that hides no meanings behind oblique imagery or language, Fletcher (Ordinary Things, 1997, etc.) creates a close-knit, recognizable cast; Krudop’s small pen-and-ink still lifes of food and common household items evoke an air of intimate, everyday domesticity. Children will enjoy reading or listening to these linked episodes of high drama, low comedy, and comforting human contact. (Poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-531-30141-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

KEVIN AND HIS DAD

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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

ME AND MY FAMILY TREE

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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more