GRANDPA GAZILLION’S NUMBER YARD

Warning: Anyone dizzied by numbers will reel with vertigo in this rhyming tale of Grandpa Gazillion and his yard rat, Hildegarde, as they demonstrate that numbers ONE through TWENTY have other uses than just counting. Frenzied acrylic illustrations depict the skylarking: “If your double-humped camel annoys your backside, saddle up with a THREE for a smooth easy ride,” and a backwards THREE fits over the humps. Or, “When buried beneath mashed potatoes and chives, a FIVE is a snorkel until help arrives.” FOUR becomes a hair dryer; SIX, a scoop for eyebrows in the soup; ELEVEN, stilts to escape skunk perfume. The absurdity of the suggestions is exaggerated even more by the kooky artwork overflowing with balloon thoughts and asides, signs and more rhymes in a chaotic layout. Young kids won’t get the over-the-top, far-fetched humor of this effort or the tangramic effect of the numbers. Only for the top ten number crunchers. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-8050-6282-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2005

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A humorous, meandering approach to a life lesson about leading every day with benevolence.

A NEW DAY

To the consternation of the other six days of the week, Sunday quits in protest, tired of being unappreciated for her consistent delivery of a weekly “beautiful free day.”

Sunday’s abrupt decision prompts the others to look for her replacement with an advertisement inviting auditions before the remaining six days. The competition quickly grows increasingly fierce as ideas are broached for DogDay, Big-BurpDay, PieDay, Band-AidDay, and, ridiculously, FirepoleSlidingIntoPoolsOfCottonCandyDay. Amid all this boisterous and frenzied rivalry, a little girl approaches the misunderstood Sunday with a small plant to say thank you and to suggest “simply a nice day. A day when people can show more kindness to each other.” The child’s humble gratitude is enough for Sunday to return to her important weekly position and to prompt all the days to value kindness as the key to each day’s possibilities. Bright art captures the mania, with cotton-candy hues representing each of the anthropomorphic days. Though undeniably comical as it unfolds in busy cartoon illustrations and speech balloons, the drawn-out, nonsensical, and unexpected course the narrative takes may be a stretch for youngsters who cannot always distinguish among days. Kindness as the ingredient for achieving a harmonious week is nevertheless a valuable message, however circuitously expressed. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

A humorous, meandering approach to a life lesson about leading every day with benevolence. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-55424-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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It’s pretty to look at, but it’s too generic to be an essential addition to an autumnal-themed book collection.

OAK LEAF

Autumn’s arrival sends an oak leaf on a windswept adventure against dappled, pointillist-style paintings.

A leaf appears, distinct and crisp against the gauzy background. It’s an eye-catching burst of gold and umber that contrasts with the lovely, if unexpectedly spring-y, Monet-inspired pastel colors. As the text catalogs the leaf’s travels through settings both natural (“over freezing lake waters”) and built (blown about by a freight train), it’s odd that there are so few autumnal references. Some of the leaf’s adventures, such as wafting through a vividly crimson maple tree or glimpsing geese migrating, are topically seasonal, but others, like a visit to a calf or a momma fox, don’t feel as germane. As the oak leaf floats lower over the city, it’s caught and pressed in a book by a white girl, a pleasant conclusion that gives the leaf’s journey a feeling of completion, though the ending is hampered slightly by the child’s somewhat unfinished-looking face—the illustrator is clearly more adept at capturing sweeping natural scenes than portraits. Written with a quiet poeticism, concise lines such as “Up through the mist, away from the earth, up” establish a pensive tone that neatly matches the quiet tale, though the text isn’t exactly bursting with personality either.

It’s pretty to look at, but it’s too generic to be an essential addition to an autumnal-themed book collection. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-944903-73-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Cameron + Company

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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