It’s June 3, 1965—the day of Gemini Four and the US’s first space walk. Tommy is enthralled with astronauts, rockets, walkie-talkies, spaceships, and the pending moon walk. He creates a helmet out of a colander and uses a rope to simulate a lifeline. He cannot wait to share this historic moment with his father, but when his father returns from work in a foul mood, Tommy feels like he’s already been disconnected and is floating aimlessly in space. Tommy is reprimanded for wearing his helmet to the dinner table and is sent to his room unfairly. Out of desperation, Tommy designs a message for his father using the daily newspaper; he places a photograph of his face over an astronaut’s to remind his dad that he wants to be an astronaut in the future. He cannot think of any other way to get through to his father, who is able to put whatever happened at the office behind him and reconnect to his son’s world. Catalanotto’s watercolors deftly capture both Tommy’s disappointment and his longing for adventure; the period of the 1960s is poignantly evoked. Tommy’s nearly overwhelming excitement comes through clearly—in fact, some pages are almost explosively joyful and expressive. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7894-2584-X

Page Count: 40

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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There is something profoundly elemental going on in Smalls’s book: the capturing of a moment of unmediated joy. It’s not melodramatic, but just a Saturday in which an African-American father and son immerse themselves in each other’s company when the woman of the house is away. Putting first things first, they tidy up the house, with an unheralded sense of purpose motivating their actions: “Then we clean, clean, clean the windows,/wipe, wipe, wash them right./My dad shines in the windows’ light.” When their work is done, they head for the park for some batting practice, then to the movies where the boy gets to choose between films. After a snack, they work their way homeward, racing each other, doing a dance step or two, then “Dad takes my hand and slows down./I understand, and we slow down./It’s a long, long walk./We have a quiet talk and smile.” Smalls treats the material without pretense, leaving it guileless and thus accessible to readers. Hays’s artwork is wistful and idyllic, just as this day is for one small boy. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-79899-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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One of a four-book series designed to help the very young prepare for new siblings, this title presents a toddler-and-mother pair (the latter heavily pregnant) as they read about new babies, sort hand-me-downs, buy new toys, visit the obstetrician and the sonographer, speculate and wait. Throughout, the child asks questions and makes exclamations with complete enthusiasm: “How big is the baby? What does it eat? I felt it move! Is it a boy or girl?” Fuller’s jolly pictures present a biracial family that thoroughly enjoys every moment together. It’s a bit oversimplified, but no one can complain about the positive message it conveys, appropriately, to its baby and toddler audience. The other titles in the New Baby series are My New Baby (ISBN: 978-1-84643-276-7), Look at Me! (ISBN: 978-1-84643-278-1) and You and Me (ISBN: 978-1-84643-277-4). (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84643-275-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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