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Famed author Lindbergh, in a much lighter poetic vein than On Morning Wings (2002), limns a bouncy and exuberant rhyme wherein a girl extols her hippie grandma: “She hasn’t cut her hair at all / Since nineteen sixty-nine.” Not only that, but she drives a purple bus, has a mustachioed, guitar-playing boyfriend named Jim, and a cat named Woodstock. The girl helps her grandmother in the garden, and helps her sell goods at the Farmers Market as well as to picket City Hall when necessary. “My mother is a lawyer. / My dad works on TV,” says the girl, and grandma tells her she will find her own perfect job, perhaps “find the cure for cancer / And save the human race.” But she knows that she wants to be a Hippie Grandmother herself, some day, “JUST LIKE YOU!” The pictures are a wonder, in electric kool-aid acid colors, full of sunshine and love beads and tie-dye. Carter (The Invisible Enemy, not reviewed, etc.) has an energetic line; her watercolor and gouache figures fairly dance off the page. Grandma’s home, with its colorful pottery, array of plants, and occasional ’60s artifact (don’t miss the lava lamp), is utterly engaging. For children who may have such a grandma, or know such a grandma, and for more than a few adults who may recognize themselves in the words and pictures: a sheer delight. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-7636-0671-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2003

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Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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