A sweet tale of how the power of play helps an elder adjust to a new life.

SKYFISHING

A GRAND TALE WITH GRANDPA

A grandfather moves in with his children in a city apartment and, with the help of his granddaughter, finds a new way to continue his passion.

Through fall and winter, building models or playing chess cannot really engage Grandpa, an avid angler at heart. Spring arrives, and his granddaughter, the narrator, initiates a pretend fishing game perched from their fire escape above the busy city street. They wait for a catch with poles, lines, and hooks. At first nothing happens, but their patience prevails as they reel in a piece of plastic they imagine to be a “flying litterfish.” The possibilities for skyfishing take off from there as the clutter of an urban sea produces flower pots, wind “chimefish,” and socks on a line—or “laundry eels.” But the biggest fish of all in their imagination rumbles deep below on the tracks. The steady narrative blends with whimsical paintings that transform the everyday congestion of a crowded metropolis into fantastical sea creatures. An ocean of aqua and blues across the bottom of the page parallels the dull browns and grays of high-rises and apartment buildings across the top. Fishing aficionados will enjoy the endpapers with accurate pen-and-ink drawings of real fish as well as childlike figures of the “fish” in the story. Grandpa and the narrator are white, and the city’s denizens are vibrantly diverse.

A sweet tale of how the power of play helps an elder adjust to a new life. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1911-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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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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