A uniquely musical take on coping with the grief of losing a parent.

UNCLE PETE AND THE QUEST FOR THE PERFECT BEAT

Two children turn to their visiting uncle, a red panda, to help them cope with the grief of losing their mother in this rhythmic picture book.

Elvira and Alexandra, based on Belgian author Schoofs’ daughters, are grieving their Chinese mother’s death. Uncle Pete, a musician, comes “to magic some smiles on to our faces” with plans to lay a track to the perfect beat. Uncle Pete, with his bushy tail sticking out from his shirt, starts his visit with food and fun. At a visit to the temple, he reminds the girls no matter where they go, they are never separate from their mother’s love. The sisters help Uncle Pete make music, but it’s still not quite right. Later, after a colorful, musical dream in which the girls’ mother promises to be with them always, Uncle Pete gathers the family for a hug, where they all realize their heartbeats, joined in love, are the perfect beat. Schoofs’ rhyming stanzas have uniquely syncopated rhythms, which can make the scansion challenging. The vocabulary includes words in Chinese (some in untranslated Chinese characters) and strange phrases, like “flaneur about town,” which may require explanation. The Chinese elements enhance the reading experience, and they reflect Elvira and Alexandra’s heritage. Le and Phan’s bright digital illustrations, especially in the dream sequence, emphasize the way that joy can help to combat grief, with the message that enjoying life doesn’t lessen love for the person who is lost.

A uniquely musical take on coping with the grief of losing a parent.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Manuscript

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2021

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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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This silly take on role reversal will have preschoolers and early-elementary children plotting their own babysitting jobs.

HOW TO BABYSIT A GRANDMA

From the How To... series

Reagan and Wildish create a humorous follow-up how-to tale in this companion to How to Babysit a Grandpa (2012).

“When you babysit a grandma, if you’re lucky…it’s a sleepover at her house.” A committed, pigtailed girl is excited to take on this huge responsibility. A narrative set in conventional black type explains the pacing of the day, and a more informal purple style is utilized for notes or lists of ideas to be considered by a babysitter. The book has a busy look, with some pages containing multiple vignettes showcasing the duo’s visit to the park or playing inside, while other, double-page spreads allow readers’ eyes to linger on the pair’s quieter moments, such as when they eat dinner, gaze at the stars or make shadow puppets on the wall. Parents and children alike will giggle at all the things the granddaughter has planned, along with her helpful pointers. Foods do taste “yummier” with sprinkles, and shouting “Ta-dah!” does make someone feel special after they have dressed up. After a jam-packed day of fun, morning comes and with it, “the hardest part: goodbye time.”

This silly take on role reversal will have preschoolers and early-elementary children plotting their own babysitting jobs. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-75384-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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