EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT AT NONNA’S HOUSE

A cheery tale in child-bright colors offers a city vs. country theme. A little boy and his mom take a taxi from their city apartment to the train and then to Nonna and Pop-Pop’s house in the country, where “the whole blue sky reaches all the way down to the flower beds.” In the country, he rides a tractor, not an elevator, and there’s no deli on the corner, but there are cows. In the city, flowers come from the corner shop, but at Nonna’s, they grow beside the kitchen door. He relates in the sweetest of language how there’s no rushing for school and work at Nonna’s, there’s always time for making pancakes. But when he gets back home to the city, he can hold the moon in his hands from his city window, just like he could at Nonna’s. Nakata’s fresh, dappled watercolors perfectly suit this story, with its apple-cheeked figures, flower-covered countryside, and lively cityscape that looks, with its yellow taxis and glimpse of the Empire State Building, just like a happy New York City. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 19, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-07335-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2003

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FLOWER GARDEN

A young girl carries a carton of potted flowers from the supermarket home and up the stairs; she and her father replant them in a window box and light candles on a birthday cake to surprise Mom when she comes wearily home from work. In Hewitt's expansive oil paintings, the girl's honey-brown face shines as brightly as the daisies and daffodils; Bunting's brief rhymed text ("Garden in a cardboard box/Walking to the bus/Garden sitting on our laps/People smile at us!") celebrates the child's contagious happiness, the warm response of everyone who sees her, and the pleasure of having "a color jamboree" of flowers in the window of an inner-city apartment, high above the street. A simple, pleasing episode with a contemporary subtext. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-15-228776-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1994

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A cozy story that will transport readers to faraway places.

A GIFT FOR NANA

All gifts are perfect when they come from the heart.

Rabbit goes on a “journey through a green and grand forest” in order to get a gift for his nana even though it is “not even a major hare holiday.” He travels very far in search of the perfect gift and encounters many new friends whom he asks for help. Each of them proffers Rabbit something they can easily make or acquire: The moon offers a “crescent smile,” a whale proposes a glass of water, and so on. Ultimately, Rabbit finds the perfect gift for Nana all on his own, and his nana absolutely adores it. Although the story is a bit predictable, it is amusing—readers will laugh at the anthropomorphic volcano’s explosion and Rabbit’s exhaustion from his journey, among other chucklesome scenes. Smith’s gesso, oil, and cold wax illustrations are exquisite and almost ethereal. The friendly, many-eyed creature referred to as a “stickler” is at once haunting and intriguing. The moon is Tim Burton–esque and seems to glow and pop off the page. Pleased with his choice of gift, Rabbit has the moon’s smile on his face. The predominance of full-bleed double-page spreads accentuates Rabbit’s long quest. The different font sizes, styles, and colors will aid emerging readers with diction when reading aloud but might prove difficult for those with dyslexia. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A cozy story that will transport readers to faraway places. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43033-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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