WALLACE HOSKINS

THE BOY WHO GREW DOWN

This is the curious story of Wallace Hoskins, who is small for his age and never seen without his large red fireman’s hat. His mother frets that he is too small, and she frets that he won’t take off the hat. Wallace, too, is concerned—he worries that his mother worries. Then one day Wallace starts putting on some inches, which makes everyone happy until it is discovered that only Wallace’s legs are growing and the rest of him remains the same. Mrs. Hoskins dashes off to Nanny Heppleweather, an old soul who had once offered assistance. Her advice is to take the fireman’s hat off, cut the toadstool she will find growing on Wallace’s head into ten pieces, and throw them into the sea. This is more than just a cautionary tale of what happens to those who don’t wash their hair; it’s a pleasing little introduction to absurdism. Some of Zarin’s witticisms may well fly right over the heads of younger listeners—“He felt that his destiny had been taken out of his hands. It was an odd feeling, but he was a child and it was not entirely new to him”—but they are deeply amusing and Matje’s sophisticated cartoons will keep children smiling. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7894-2523-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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WAITING FOR BABY

One of a four-book series designed to help the very young prepare for new siblings, this title presents a toddler-and-mother pair (the latter heavily pregnant) as they read about new babies, sort hand-me-downs, buy new toys, visit the obstetrician and the sonographer, speculate and wait. Throughout, the child asks questions and makes exclamations with complete enthusiasm: “How big is the baby? What does it eat? I felt it move! Is it a boy or girl?” Fuller’s jolly pictures present a biracial family that thoroughly enjoys every moment together. It’s a bit oversimplified, but no one can complain about the positive message it conveys, appropriately, to its baby and toddler audience. The other titles in the New Baby series are My New Baby (ISBN: 978-1-84643-276-7), Look at Me! (ISBN: 978-1-84643-278-1) and You and Me (ISBN: 978-1-84643-277-4). (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84643-275-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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