It’s good fun to see this vigorous, involved Grandma leading the fishing expedition.


An Inuit brother and sister learn to jig for fish with their anaanatsiaq.

The older brother narrates the plainly told story as he and Jeela, his younger sister, encourage their grandma to take them on “an adventure.” Their jolly “favorite elder” readily agrees and tells them about the layered clothing they will need. She gathers the tools for ice-fishing, and they all get into the large ATV for the ride to the lake. Along the way, they pass a dog sled and some inuksuit (stone markers). The entire process is carefully described, from testing the ice with a metal probe to making the hole with the tuuq (a chisel), removing the pieces of ice from the hole with an ice skimmer (a large spoon with holes), and tying the shiny colorful lures to fishing line attached to flat wooden planks, or jigging sticks. The digital pictures have an animation aesthetic and show a happy family of contemporary Inuit practicing a skill used by their ancestors. The children share their catch with many elders in the community who can no longer fish. Nothing dramatic happens, and Grandma gets a little preachy (“It is important to learn traditional skills and know how to be prepared”), but it’s clear this trio has had a splendid time.

It’s good fun to see this vigorous, involved Grandma leading the fishing expedition. (list of tools, glossary) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-77227-084-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

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A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.


Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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While the amusing scenario may prove to be more a nostalgia trip for adult readers than something today’s kids will...


Weekly Sunday visits from their two aunts and one uncle are so disagreeable that three children take steps to alter the atmosphere through some harmlessly exaggerated imitation.

Each Sunday afternoon the family guests arrive, heavily plop themselves on the living room furniture, and make negative, complaining and resigned statements. “Oy,” says Aunt Essy. “Feh,” says Aunt Chanah. “So?” says Uncle Sam. “That was all they ever said!” Despite the children’s parents’ attempts to make pleasant conversation or the children’s enthusiastic play-acting performed for the guests, the reaction is always the same uncongenial three words. Ink-and-watercolor illustrations depict Essy, Chanah and Sam with unflattering caricatures of stereotypical adult Jewish characters, with clownishly large noses, slouchy, overweight bodies and unsmiling faces. In exasperation, the children each take a role and comically mimic their aunts’ and uncle’s behavior, forcing laughter and recognition. This mishpocheh now redeems itself with a newfound willingness to tell family stories and loving childhood memories; the palette here modulates from muted tones to bright, sunny colors.

While the amusing scenario may prove to be more a nostalgia trip for adult readers than something today’s kids will immediately recognize, they will appreciate the overall sentiment even if they miss the Yiddish essence. Nu? (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55498-148-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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