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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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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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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