GRANNY GOMEZ & JIGSAW

Granny Gomez lives in a large house out in the country. She likes her flowers, her jigsaw puzzles and having enough space for her drums and mountain-climbing gear…but sometimes she is lonely. Her friend William decrees that she needs a pet (but not just any pet). The next morning there’s a pink piglet on her porch. Granny’s not sure about a pig in the house, but to save him from the bacon farm and because he’s so cute, she decides to give it a try. Jigsaw turns out to be a great pet, but he doesn’t stay small forever. Broken back steps convince Granny something must be done. When she builds him a barn that’s just as big as her house, she’s lonely again at night. It turns out, however, that Granny Gomez is a granny with an innovative solution to every problem. Underwood’s sweet tale of loneliness and companionship is brought to pudgy, smiling life by Magoon’s watercolor-and-ink illustrations. A solid addition to any collection. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7868-5216-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2010

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CHATO'S KITCHEN

Chato and Novio Boy, low-riding East Los Angeles homeboys of the feline variety, have dinner guests. The invitees, a family of five fat mice who just moved in next door, haven't an inkling that they are the intended main course. But when the mice bring along their friend Chorizo (a worldly mutt in a slouch beret) to share the grub, he thwarts the cats' connivings. This unlikely three- species chow-down is a sweet salute to Spanish cooking, with fajitas, frijoles, and quesadillas sharing center stage. Soto delivers a spare, clever text; the words skip like stones across water—``His tail began to swing to the rhythm. He felt the twinge of mambo in his hips.'' Guevara's swarming, luxuriant illustrations give the atmosphere palpability, with brushstrokes so fresh readers will want to stick their fingers in the paint to feel its texture. Menace hangs in the air; the artist mixes the sinisterness of R. Crumb with moments of Edvard Munch terror, yet it seems likely from the outset that the mice are more than capable of looking after themselves. Incidental touches—little devils and angels darting about, a bird wedding glimpsed through a window—are there for the sharp-eyed. Smart, with a nice edge. Soto's inspired finger-snapping prose has found an equally imaginative comrade in Guevara's colorful urban paintings. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 22, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-22658-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1995

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JOHN PHILIP DUCK

Edward and his father work for the Peabody Hotel in Memphis since the Depression has brought hard times for so many. On weekends they return to their farm in the hills and it’s there Edward finds John Philip Duck, named for the composer whose marches Edward listens to on the radio. Edward has to look after the scrawny duckling during the week, so he risks the ire of the hotel manager by taking John Philip with him. The expected occurs when Mr. Shutt finds the duckling. The blustery manager makes Edward a deal. If Edward can train John Philip to swim in the hotel fountain all day (and lure in more customers), Edward and the duck can stay. After much hard work, John Philip learns to stay put and Edward becomes the first Duck Master at the hotel. This half-imagined story of the first of the famous Peabody Hotel ducks is one of Polacco’s most charming efforts to date. Her signature illustrations are a bit brighter and full of the music of the march. An excellent read aloud for older crowds, but the ever-so-slightly anthropomorphic ducks will come across best shared one-on-one. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-399-24262-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2004

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