WHEN MAMA RETIRES

When Mama talks about retiring, it's housework she's planning to give up: with Dad overseas, she's joining other women contributing to the WW II effort by working in factories. First, though, ``It's time I taught you boys how to do some things around here,'' and—as the narrator reminds his younger brothers- -they did promise Dad to ``pitch in.'' The three are soon mastering a washer-wringer, turning a fresh eye to tidying their own belongings, and singing ``Mairzy Doats'' while they help out with meals and cleaning. Nicely catching the period flavor, Ackerman also deftly reilluminates the question of who takes responsibility for household chores. New illustrator Grace animates the scenes with sinuous lines that fairly vibrate with energy (the dauntingly large washer is particularly amusing), counterpointing their bold sweep with delicate patterns on fabrics and wallpaper and slyly echoing the author's suggestion that, even given the clear need, the boys are not entirely willing to do their bit. An attractive book that balances a period setting and a contemporary concern with brisk good humor. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: March 10, 1992

ISBN: 0-679-80289-4

Page Count: -

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1992

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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A DOG NAMED SAM

A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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