This well-intentioned effort will surely comfort children coping with similar situations and may lead to further discussions...

GRANDPA MONTY'S MUDDLES

First-person narration from a likable 7-year-old boy describes how he is adapting to the changes that follow once his grandfather moves in after experiencing increased memory loss.

Zafrilla gives Oscar a straightforward yet caring voice to address readers, successfully drawing them into his world, where Grandpa Monty acts strangely, and his family needs to share responsibilities for his care. At first, Grandpa’s actions seemed a bit funny, ironing a fish and trying to open a tree with mailbox keys. But safety becomes a concern, so he moves in, and family members take turns being with Monty so he is never alone. In an effort to help his grandfather, Oscar devises ways to help him “exercise” his memory. The duo look at old photo albums, read the newspaper and do math. Oscar creates a “ ‘word album,’ which [is] really a miniature dictionary with…words from around [the] house.” Diaz ably reflects the text and extends it with gentle touches of humor; Monty takes a sip out of a flower vase and lobs a pumpkin at the basketball hoop. The ending, however, may seem oddly open-ended. Oscar decides to make another album with the names of the states and capitals to further help exercise Grandpa’s memory and to study his lessons at the same time. So the last line questions, “Do you make albums with everything you learn, too?”

This well-intentioned effort will surely comfort children coping with similar situations and may lead to further discussions on how children can help when someone is unwell. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-84-15-24117-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking.

I'M NOT SCARED, YOU'RE SCARED

Unlikely friends Bear and Rabbit face fears together.

The anthropomorphic creatures set out on an adventure. Graphic-based illustrations give the book a Pixar movie feel, with a variety of page layouts that keep the story moving. Large blocks of black text are heavy on dialogue patterns as timid Bear and bold Rabbit encounter obstacles. Bear fears every one of them, from the stream to the mountain. He’ll do anything to avoid the objects of terror: taking a bus, a train, and even a helicopter. As Rabbit asks Bear if he’s frightened, Bear repeatedly responds, “I’m not scared, you’re scared!” and children will delight in the call-and-response opportunities. Adults may tire of the refrain, but attempts to keep everyone entertained are evident in asides about Bear's inability to brush food from his teeth (he’s too afraid to look at himself in the mirror) and Rabbit's superstrong ears (which do come in handy later). When Rabbit finds herself in danger after Bear defects on the adventure, Bear retraces the trip. Along the way, he notes that the stream wasn't as deep, nor the mountain as high, as he thought when he was scared. While picture-book shelves may not be screaming for another comedically sweet bear story, especially one that treads such familiar territory, many readers will appreciate this tale of overcoming fears. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35237-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

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A nicely inventive little morality “tail” for newly independent readers.

THE INFAMOUS RATSOS

From the Infamous Ratsos series , Vol. 1

Two little rats decide to show the world how tough they are, with unpredictable results.

Louie and Ralphie Ratso want to be just like their single dad, Big Lou: tough! They know that “tough” means doing mean things to other animals, like stealing Chad Badgerton’s hat. Chad Badgerton is a big badger, so taking that hat from him proves that Louie and Ralphie are just as tough as they want to be. However, it turns out that Louie and Ralphie have just done a good deed instead of a bad one: Chad Badgerton had taken that hat from little Tiny Crawley, a mouse, so when Tiny reclaims it, they are celebrated for goodness rather than toughness. Sadly, every attempt Louie and Ralphie make at doing mean things somehow turns nice. What’s a little boy rat supposed to do to be tough? Plus, they worry about what their dad will say when he finds out how good they’ve been. But wait! Maybe their dad has some other ideas? LaReau keeps the action high and completely appropriate for readers embarking on chapter books. Each of the first six chapters features a new, failed attempt by Louie and Ralphie to be mean, and the final, seventh chapter resolves everything nicely. The humor springs from their foiled efforts and their reactions to their failures. Myers’ sprightly grayscale drawings capture action and characters and add humorous details, such as the Ratsos’ “unwelcome” mat.

A nicely inventive little morality “tail” for newly independent readers. (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7636-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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