THE THANKSGIVING VISITOR

Were it not that the gently luminous features of the brilliant actress Geraldine Page, who appeared in Capote's Christmas Memory on TV last year, haunt this latest fictional memoir like a benign ghost, one might balk at the author's slide into commercial sentimentality. Again the boy and his childlike, middle-aged friend, "Miss Sook" here, prepare for a holiday. But instead of the exquisite ordinaries of a shared world, this time a contrived situation blocks out rather than illuminates the friendship and the character of Miss Sook. That vague and loving lady in her innocence and inexperience sets herself toward pumping charity into the boy, Buddy, as he suffers under the torments of a twelve-year-old bully, Odd Henderson. Odd is a poverty stricken hellion with a pride to match his meanness. Invited defiantly by Miss Sook to the clan's Thanksgiving, Odd is a social success, but Buddy has triumphantly observed him stealing Miss Sook's cameo, a talisman charged with private meanings. Buddy accuses Odd publicly and the remainder is slick as goose grease — Miss Sook ignores the theft; the good angel of Odd's nature is touched; Buddy is wooed back from his devastation at Miss Sook's defection by homilies and turkey. Alas, Miss Sook has taken to lecturing, but come Fall TV, assuredly Miss Page will bring her back to life. If you tune out on this one — tune in for the TV version. This brief tale will appear in McCalls.

Pub Date: Nov. 21, 1968

ISBN: 0679838988

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1968

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Light, friendly, and not at all preachy—a gentle win for a kinder world.

ABCS OF KINDNESS

Rhyming couplets use the alphabet to simply explain the abstract concept of kindness.

Each letter of the alphabet stands for a word that adds nuance to the notion while line drawings of pink-cheeked stuffed animals—bear, bunny, elephant, mouse, lion, and giraffe—illustrate the behavior. The verses hint at exactly how to act kindly. Some are concrete: “Ii is for inviting everyone to play.” Some suggest attitudes that facilitate kindness. For example, “Bb is for believing things will be okay in the end!” and “Hh is for hope—tomorrow’s another day!” While many might take issue with the simplistic assertion that “Ee is for everyone—we are all the same,” taken as a whole, the book will lead even the youngest toddlers to the message. Organizationally, the book devotes one page each to 11 letters while 14 others share pages. “Zz is sleeping peacefully when your day of kindness is through” sprawls across a final double-page spread, showing all the animals fast asleep. Creating an ABC book is harder than this makes it look. The true test is what is chosen to represent Q, X, Y, and Z. “Quiet times,” “Yes I can,” and the aforementioned “zzz”s ably rise to the challenge. “Xx is for kisses” is a bit of a stretch but understandable. Pastel backgrounds, uncluttered design, and unforced rhymes keep the focus on the concept.

Light, friendly, and not at all preachy—a gentle win for a kinder world. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-593-12307-2

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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