A thank-you note from grandchildren to grandmothers.

DEAR GRANDMA

Celebrating the mutual-admiration society of grandmothers and grandchildren.

This upbeat text has the tone of an expanded greeting card. It begins with a child writing a note to Grandma (“Do you know you’re the best?”) and then continues to show how grandmothers offer unconditional love and acceptance in myriad magical and practical ways. The text’s sentiments are clear even when the sentence structure is not: “You’re grab pots and pans, / let’s make a band, / cheer up and bake / a rainy Saturday cake….” In this illustration, a grandma frosts a cake while singing into a wooden-spoon microphone; one grandchild pretends to strum a broom while two younger kids bang pots and pans. The whole family has brown skin and puffy black hair. It’s not all boisterousness. “Take a walk so we can talk, / hold my hand and understand / that sometimes things don’t go as planned.” Here, a young child with black braids walks with a grandma (rather improbably) wearing both a hijab and a bindi; both have brown skin. Bright cartoon illustrations of racially diverse generations show grandmothers and grandchildren actively swinging through a jungle and challenging a dragon as well as quietly engaging in pep talks and enjoying a seaside visit complete with sand castle building. Blank pages invite readers to add their own thoughts and pictures about grandma.

A thank-you note from grandchildren to grandmothers. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-2261-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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Only for dedicated fans of the series.

HOW TO CATCH A MONSTER

From the How To Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Comfy and cozy, with nary a meanie in sight.

GRANDUDE'S GREEN SUBMARINE

Following Hey, Grandude (2019), more jolly fun as the title character squires his four young “Chillers” aboard a green sub (where does Sir Paul get his ideas?) to catch up with his partner in adventure: Nandude!

Casting about for something to do on a sweltering day, the multiracial quartet eagerly follows their grizzled White gramps down to an underground chamber where a viridian vessel awaits to take them soaring through the sky to a distant land. There, Grandude’s old friend Ravi plays a tune of Nandude’s that accompanies them after they leave him. It leads them under the sea to an octopus’s garden and a briefly scary tangle with the ink-spraying giant. The monster’s set to dancing, though, as Nandude floats up in her own accordion-shaped ship to carry everyone home for tea, biscuits, and bed in a swirl of notes. Aside maybe from the odd spray of shiny stars here and there, Durst steers clear of sight gags and direct visual references to the film or music in her cheery cartoon scenes. Both she and the text do kit Ravi out, appropriately, with a sitar, but there’s no 1960s-style psychedelia to be seen. Nostalgic adults may be disappointed to see that even the submarine bears no resemblance to the iconic vessel of the film but instead just looks like a plush, smiling toy whale, eyes and all. Children, of course, won’t care. That this book does not try to trade (heavily) on its antecedents makes it a refreshing change from so many other celebrity titles. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Comfy and cozy, with nary a meanie in sight. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-37243-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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