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WEEKEND WITH GRANDMOTHER

Grandmother’s enthusiasm is contagious in this story designed to inspire the early reader to enjoy the simple things in life. Tony hasn’t seen his grandmother in four years. Grandmother, having grown tired of waiting for Tony’s busy parents to bring him to her, has decided to take him away for a fun weekend. She zooms up in a snazzy convertible and whisks him away to taste all those things to which he is unaccustomed. They take their time on back roads, eat a leisurely picnic lunch, talk, stay in a quiet village for the night, star gaze, and build sandcastles at the beach. The point gets slightly diluted when grandmother and grandson get huffy at a restaurant where they receive inadequate service due to their clothing. Upon returning home from the whirlwind weekend, Tony’s parents have somehow been mysteriously moved by Grandmother’s ways and have taken time out to do a puzzle. If Hänel’s (Little Elephant Runs Away, not reviewed, etc.) point is that it’s good to be slightly eccentric and slowing down can lead to wisdom, we get it, but it all seems a little too much when, at tale’s end, Grandma helps an old man cross a busy street. Not a bad effort for a brief adventure away from everyday life, and the essence is positive. Unzner’s (The Clown Who Said, No, not reviewed, etc.) watercolors-over-ink sketches adorn every page and bring warmth and dimension to the story. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7358-1630-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2002

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LITTLE DAYMOND LEARNS TO EARN

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists.

How to raise money for a coveted poster: put your friends to work!

John, founder of the FUBU fashion line and a Shark Tank venture capitalist, offers a self-referential blueprint for financial success. Having only half of the $10 he needs for a Minka J poster, Daymond forks over $1 to buy a plain T-shirt, paints a picture of the pop star on it, sells it for $5, and uses all of his cash to buy nine more shirts. Then he recruits three friends to decorate them with his design and help sell them for an unspecified amount (from a conveniently free and empty street-fair booth) until they’re gone. The enterprising entrepreneur reimburses himself for the shirts and splits the remaining proceeds, which leaves him with enough for that poster as well as a “brand-new business book,” while his friends express other fiscal strategies: saving their share, spending it all on new art supplies, or donating part and buying a (math) book with the rest. (In a closing summation, the author also suggests investing in stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrency.) Though Miles cranks up the visual energy in her sparsely detailed illustrations by incorporating bright colors and lots of greenbacks, the actual advice feels a bit vague. Daymond is Black; most of the cast are people of color. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-56727-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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WHAT THE ROAD SAID

Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2021

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