PRIVATE LILLY

Lily, who is six, her brother Casey, twelve, and their mother have moved from a house in New Jersey to a small apartment in Philadelphia. Casey has a space of his own, while Lily has to share a room with her mother. Seeking privacy, Lily attempts to sleep in the bathtub with the chair cushions, but the faucet leaks and the cushions get wet; she then tries to make a cave under the kitchen table that lasts only until a spider takes a walk across her face. Sleeping in the closet doesn’t work out much better. Casey provides the solution when he spots a folding screen in a used-furniture store, which the family refurbishes to Lily’s satisfaction. Warner keeps the tone light and the focus tight, so readers only know that the family’s reduced circumstances are because a “mean judge” has sent Lily’s father to jail for “taking stuff that wasn’t his.” In true six-year-old form, Lily’s attention is on the problem of privacy, and while a one-chapter predicament has been spun into a novel, the childlike first-person narration is written with considerable humor and grace. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: July 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-679-89137-4

Page Count: 82

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1998

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more