MISSING RABBIT

It is very tempting to dodge the issue raised here—just where one does belong in a divorced family of two households—simply because it is so baldly put. There is no way to gain on the matter with any less than mortal resolve, no angled approach, and no exercise of the imagination. Young Kara and Rabbit, her stuffed friend, go everywhere together: to Dad’s, then Mom’s, then Dad’s again, then Mom’s. When leaving Dad’s one day, Rabbit whispers to Kara, “Where do I live?” Kara decides to have Rabbit stay at Dad’s. But then at Mom’s, she misses Rabbit too much, and Dad ferries Rabbit over. Then the same happens at Mom’s: Rabbit stays, but soon gets a lift to Dad’s. Both homes are utterly protective and mutually respectful and welcoming, so that when Rabbit springs the inevitable—“Were do you live?”—on Kara, she can safely ask her parents. They reply that she lives sometimes with Mom, sometimes with Dad, and always in their hearts. Any child who can relate to this story probably hasn’t got any issues regarding belonging in the first place. And such a cotton-soft world of divorce will yield no dividends for kids in more ragged emotional terrain. Would that the situation be so easily resolved. Moore’s (Alice and Greta’s Color Magic, not reviewed, etc.) party-colored watercolors are the visual equivalent to Schotter’s (F Is for Freedom, 2000, etc.) sugarcoated universe. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 18, 2002

ISBN: 0-618-03432-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2002

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Full of humor and action, with easily recognizable emotions.

NOPE

A nearly wordless graphic picture book illustrates the angst of a fledgling whose parent is determined to see it take its first flight.

The double-page spread encompassing the title page shows a small, comical bird sitting in a nest of twigs, dubiously eyeing a larger bird who flies above it with a facial expression of avian bliss. There follows a series of panels that show long-distance views of the larger bird gracefully landing in the nest occupied by, apparently, its progeny. The next double-page spread shows a single aerial view, with the little bird gazing far down to the earth. On the ensuing pages, the little bird exhibits high anxiety and clings to its parent with a large speech bubble that proclaims the titular “NOPE!” Over the course of the book, the little one—through pastel-tinged images in thought bubbles—imagines all the possible terrors it may encounter venturing from the nest, while its parent continues to encourage it to leave. There are occasional sound-effect words, such as “shake” and “flap,” and there is a full page of “no” in several different languages. Most of the story is told exclusively with the funny facial expressions and body language of two birds at cross purposes. The simple message is clear, and the humorous animals are foregrounded against pretty green and blue watercolor settings. Naturally, “nope” eventually changes to “yep.”

Full of humor and action, with easily recognizable emotions. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-99731-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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GRANDMA DROVE THE GARBAGE TRUCK

When her three sons call in sick on the day of the big Fourth of July parade, Billy’s spunky Grandma takes on their job of driving the family garbage truck. Aiming primarily for humor, but falling short, Grandma and Billy’s adventure proves perilous from the moment Grandma leaves the driveway, as she immediately plows through a mail box, rose beds, a flag and even a clothesline without noticing. In a twist, these items pile up on the garbage truck, transforming it into an award-winning float in the town’s parade. Obviously, Clark hopes readers will see the humor in Grandma’s blissful oblivion; however, there is a noticeable disconnect between Clark’s levity and Huntington’s realistic illustrations, which clearly picture the faces of those with property damage as anything but laughing. Off-target and maybe even offensive to those with older loved ones. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-89272-698-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Down East

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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