BOY OF THE DEEPS

Wallace tells a story about his grandfather, who worked in the mines. It is a touching tale about the son of a coal miner, who goes with his father for the first time to work underground. “You’ll be a good miner, boy,” says the father. “You have coal in your blood same as me.” His mother tells him, “Take care, my son. You know the deeps is dangerous.” Father and son file into a steel cage and are lowered into the darkness with all the other miners. It is exhausting work, and the boy falls asleep during lunch. While they are working in the afternoon, the ceiling in the mine collapses, knocking them to the ground, and giving them a scare as they dig themselves out. “They headed toward the steel cage, the light, and home. Tomorrow they would go down into the deeps again, for they were miners and that was their job.” Wallace’s simple and direct language gives the story power; the textured and shadowy illustrations, as still as photographs, convey what it was like to grow up long ago, when a boy went to do a man’s work, and toiled willingly alongside his Da. (Picture book. 6-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-7894-2569-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 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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