GUS AND GRANDPA AND THE TWO-WHEELED BIKE

Gus and Grandpa (Gus and Grandpa Ride the Train, 1998, etc.) return, this time to tackle that classic coming-of-age moment: when the training wheels come off. Gus is a happy cyclist until Ryan, new in the neighborhood and about Gus’s age, rides by on his racing bike and asks Gus why he still uses training wheels. Gus loves his training wheels, which stabilize an otherwise “tippy, slippy, floppy, falling-over bike.” Gus’s father asks if Gus wants to remove his training wheels; Gus says no. In a rather interfering manner, his father buys him a new bike that proves to be Gus’s nemesis. He keeps crashing, and has the banged-up knees to prove it. Grandpa has an idea. He rolls out Gus’s father’s old bike, a sort of intermediate model between training-wheels and Gus’s new bike. Then Grandpa holds on to the back of the seat as Gus rides around a parking lot a “million” times and starts to feel the wind in his sails. Sweet and mellow: Mills (and Stock, of course) hits the right degree of fear without having to revert to terror to delineate the importance of Gus’s act, and Grandpa is no saint, just a gentleman who understands the notion of patience’something his son is still working on. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 5, 1999

ISBN: 0-374-32821-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS EXPLORES THE SENSES

The way-off-road vehicle (The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field, 1997, etc.) tours the ears, eyes, nose, and skin when the assistant principal, Mr. Wilde, accidentally shrinks the school bus and the children on board, commandeering it to deliver a message to Ms. Frizzle. The vehicle plunges into the eye of a police officer, where the students explore the pupil, the cornea, the retina, and the optic nerve leading to the brain. Then it’s on to other senses, via the ear of a small child, the nose of a dog, and the tongue of the Friz herself. Sidebars and captions add to the blizzard of information here; with a combination of plot, details, and jokes, the trip is anything but dull. The facts will certainly entice readers to learn more about the ways living creatures perceive the world. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-44697-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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THE COLORS OF US

This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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