KEEPING UP WITH GRANDMA

Winch (The Old Woman Who Loved to Read, 1997, etc.) crafts sparkling illustrations for this tongue-in-cheek tale of a silver-haired senior who hears the call of the wild. Grandma bakes scrumptious-looking cakes, but feeling the need to get out more, leaves the kitchen, dragging Grandpa away from his beloved easel to search out new hobbies. Mountain climbing? Too exciting for Grandpa. Similarly: sledding, white-water canoeing, diving, and bronco-busting. Dancing? Grandpa may once have been a champion rug cutter, but he can’t keep up with the beat any more. Sailing and spelunking don’t turn out well either. In crisply detailed paintings, Winch alternates pulled-back views of misadventures in the great outdoors with finely detailed facial close-ups, depicting Grandma plunging enthusiastically into each new venture, and Grandpa soldiering unhappily behind. Though the experiment ends on a flat note, as the two return to their accustomed avocations with evident content, the wild action and a plenitude of visual jokes will keep children, and their elders, entertained. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2000

ISBN: 0-8234-1563-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2000

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TEA WITH MILK

In describing how his parents met, Say continues to explore the ways that differing cultures can harmonize; raised near San Francisco and known as May everywhere except at home, where she is Masako, the child who will grow up to be Say’s mother becomes a misfit when her family moves back to Japan. Rebelling against attempts to force her into the mold of a traditional Japanese woman, she leaves for Osaka, finds work as a department store translator, and meets Joseph, a Chinese businessman who not only speaks English, but prefers tea with milk and sugar, and persuades her that “home isn’t a place or a building that’s ready-made or waiting for you, in America or anywhere else.” Painted with characteristic control and restraint, Say’s illustrations, largely portraits, begin with a sepia view of a sullen child in a kimono, gradually take on distinct, subdued color, and end with a formal shot of the smiling young couple in Western dress. A stately cousin to Ina R. Friedman’s How My Parents Learned To Eat (1984), also illustrated by Say. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-90495-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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KEVIN AND HIS DAD

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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