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HORRIS GROWS DOWN

Echoing—at least thematically—the Bob Dylan lyric, “I was so much older then / I’m younger than that now,” this tale pitches a vastly oversized four-year-old in to, then out of, the adult world. Unable to think of anything else to do with him, Horris’s parents send their towering son out to get a job. His career as a box-sorter is cut short, however, when the boss discovers that he can’t count above ten. Fortunately, on the way home, he falls in with some children who sell him on the idea of flextime play periods and free snacks on demand. In digitally rendered, Dan Yaccarino–style scenes, Petrone gives Horris a giant head with raccoon eyes and a solid-looking cowlick, and sets him in a retro-flavored suburban neighborhood. Along with some disagreement between text and pictures (Horris sorts three colors of boxes, but only two are visible, for instance), the episode ends with the rather belated notion that, hey, Horris could go to school to pick up that missing job skill. It’s difficult to see the audience for this; young Baby Hueys will derive more comfort from Gennifer Choldenko’s How to Make Friends with a Giant (2006). (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-399-24358-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2006

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BECAUSE YOUR DADDY LOVES YOU

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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I WISH YOU MORE

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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