Exuding a zest for living and loving, this nautical narrative is an ode to joy.

THE UNEXPECTED LOVE STORY OF ALFRED FIDDLEDUCKLING

In this tender story, a newborn duckling experiences music as sweet solace and meaningful communication while searching for love.

Moments before a “sudden and mighty gale whipped the seas into a raging fury,” a beaming Capt. Alfred had bestowed a name on the fragile egg nestled in his violin case—a present for his wife. The jovial bald white man had fiddled for his crew (ducks and dog), leading them in a merry, anticipatory dance. As stirring language and sweeping brush strokes conjure a fearsome tempest, a capsized boat, and a silent fog, everything disappears. Eventually Alfred Fiddleduckling emerges, floating along in an open violin case, reaching out to caress a piece of flotsam: the fiddle; he continues to interact with it after reaching land, captivated by its voice. The sounds from the instrument, rendered in acrylics as swirls of brilliant, feathery colors, waft through the dense atmosphere, finding first the dog and then the captain’s anxious wife (also white). Ering replaces words with visual clues to suggest homecoming, thereby avoiding a too-tidy conclusion. The vibrant yellow of the protagonist merges with the home’s brilliant illumination in the final scene. Layered with energetic paint strokes, delicate ink drawings, and warm touches of charcoal and graphite, the compositions are full of high drama, nuanced emotion, and humor.

Exuding a zest for living and loving, this nautical narrative is an ode to joy. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6432-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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Intended as an amusing parody, this groans with outdated irrelevance and immaturity.

GOLDIE'S GUIDE TO GRANDCHILDING

While spending the day with Grandpa, young Goldie offers tips on the care and keeping of grandparents.

Though “loyal and loving,” Goldie’s grandfather proves to be quite a character. At Grandparents Day at school, his loud greeting and incessant flatulence are embarrassing, but Goldie is confident that he—and all grandparents—can be handled with the “right care and treatment.” The young narrator notes that playtime should involve the imagination rather than technology—“and NO video games. It’s just too much for them.” Goldie observes that grandparents “live on a diet of all the things your parents tell them are bad for them” but finds that Grandpa’s favorite fast-food restaurant does make for a great meal out. The narrator advises that it’s important for grandparents to get plenty of exercise; Grandpa’s favorite moves include “the Bump, the Hustle, and the Funky Chicken.” The first-person instruction and the artwork—drawn in a childlike scrawl—portray this grandfather in a funny, though unflattering, stereotypical light as he pulls quarters from Goldie’s ears, burps on command, and invites Goldie to pull his finger. Goldie’s grandfather seems out of touch with today’s more tech-savvy and health-oriented older people who are eager to participate with their grandchildren in contemporary activities. Though some grandparent readers may chuckle, kids may wonder how this mirrors their own relationships. Goldie and Grandpa are light-skinned; Goldie’s classmates are diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Intended as an amusing parody, this groans with outdated irrelevance and immaturity. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-24932-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson.

MAX AND THE TAG-ALONG MOON

After a visit, an African-American grandfather and grandson say farewell under a big yellow moon. Granpa tells Max it is the same moon he will see when he gets home.

This gently told story uses Max’s fascination with the moon’s ability to “tag along” where his family’s car goes as a metaphor for his grandfather’s constant love. Separating the two relatives is “a swervy-curvy road” that travels up and down hills, over a bridge, “past a field of sleeping cows,” around a small town and through a tunnel. No matter where Max travels, the moon is always there, waiting around a curve or peeking through the trees. But then “[d]ark clouds tumbled across the night sky.” No stars, no nightingales and no moon are to be found. Max frets: “Granpa said it would always shine for me.” Disappointed, Max climbs into bed, missing both the moon and his granpa. In a dramatic double-page spread, readers see Max’s excitement as “[s]lowly, very slowly, Max’s bedroom began to fill with a soft yellow glow.” Cooper uses his signature style to illustrate both the landscape—sometimes viewed from the car windows or reflected in the vehicle’s mirror—and the expressive faces of his characters. Coupled with the story’s lyrical text, this is a lovely mood piece.

A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-23342-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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