YANNI RUBBISH

A resonant story unfolds quickly under Oppenheim’s sure hand. Yanni, a boy living in a Greek village, has the task of driving a beat-up wagon, collecting garbage for his father, who has taken temporary work in Germany. Yanni’s playmates are cruel to him, jeering at the cart and the poor donkey who pulls it. His mother is sympathetic, but—gratifyingly—it is Yanni who makes changes and alters the depressing situation. A family photograph persuades him that paint, a sign, and other improvements will make the wagon something to be proud of. Although the setting is unusual, the family’s drastic financial problems, as well as the boy’s dilemma, are rendered at a universal level. The well-told story is accompanied by oil paintings that show a dearth of detail; backgrounds are indistinct, yet every picture evokes the mood as well as the actions. The somber tones used early in the book give way to the cheerful blue of the newly painted wagon; the troubles are not over, but it’s clear that Yanni and his family will more than endure. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-56397-668-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1999

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NO MATTER WHAT

Small, a very little fox, needs some reassurance from Large in the unconditional love department. If he is grim and grumpy, will he still be loved? “ ‘Oh, Small,’ said Large, ‘grumpy or not, I’ll always love you, no matter what.’ “ So it goes, in a gentle rhyme, as Large parries any number of questions that for Small are very telling. What if he were to turn into a young bear, or squishy bug, or alligator? Would a mother want to hug and hold these fearsome animals? Yes, yes, answers Large. “But does love wear out? Does it break or bend? Can you fix it or patch it? Does it mend?” There is comfort in Gliori’s pages, but it is a result of repetition and not the imagery; this is a quick fix, not an enduring one, but it eases Small’s fears and may well do the same for children. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202061-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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DAVID GOES TO SCHOOL

The poster boy for relentless mischief-makers everywhere, first encountered in No, David! (1998), gives his weary mother a rest by going to school. Naturally, he’s tardy, and that’s but the first in a long string of offenses—“Sit down, David! Keep your hands to yourself! PAY ATTENTION!”—that culminates in an afterschool stint. Children will, of course, recognize every line of the text and every one of David’s moves, and although he doesn’t exhibit the larger- than-life quality that made him a tall-tale anti-hero in his first appearance, his round-headed, gap-toothed enthusiasm is still endearing. For all his disruptive behavior, he shows not a trace of malice, and it’ll be easy for readers to want to encourage his further exploits. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-48087-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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