TED

A more-or-less imaginary friend brings a lonely boy and his distracted father together in this heavy-handed but slapstick romp from the author/illustrator of Jimmy Zangwow's Out-of-This-World Moon Pie Adventure (2000). Looking like a cross between a flop-eared John Goodman and Jabba the Hut, Ted saunters into the unnamed young narrator's life, and proceeds to instigate more chaos than the Cat in the Hat ever dreamed of. After helping to spatter the bathroom with shaving cream, "illustrate" the living-room walls, and create an indoor swimming pool in the study, Ted retreats from Dad's wrath to a nearby playground. The boy soon follows, to wonder why grownups have forgotten to have fun, and to learn that Ted was his father's playmate too, years ago. In due time, Dad shows up, and with the help of an old toy dredges up half-forgotten memories—after which all go back home for "one mean game of space-pirates-Monopoly-Twister!" Owing equal debts to Norman Rockwell and Mad Magazine, DiTerlizzi's polished, carefully detailed illustrations feature nerdy-looking humans and wild swirls of domestic disaster, with Ted, invisible to Dad but looking just as solid and real, mugging hugely and providing a mottled, pink focal point. It's not exactly subtle, but children may find its exaggerations appealing. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83235-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2001

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TEA WITH MILK

In describing how his parents met, Say continues to explore the ways that differing cultures can harmonize; raised near San Francisco and known as May everywhere except at home, where she is Masako, the child who will grow up to be Say’s mother becomes a misfit when her family moves back to Japan. Rebelling against attempts to force her into the mold of a traditional Japanese woman, she leaves for Osaka, finds work as a department store translator, and meets Joseph, a Chinese businessman who not only speaks English, but prefers tea with milk and sugar, and persuades her that “home isn’t a place or a building that’s ready-made or waiting for you, in America or anywhere else.” Painted with characteristic control and restraint, Say’s illustrations, largely portraits, begin with a sepia view of a sullen child in a kimono, gradually take on distinct, subdued color, and end with a formal shot of the smiling young couple in Western dress. A stately cousin to Ina R. Friedman’s How My Parents Learned To Eat (1984), also illustrated by Say. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-90495-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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KEVIN AND HIS DAD

There is something profoundly elemental going on in Smalls’s book: the capturing of a moment of unmediated joy. It’s not melodramatic, but just a Saturday in which an African-American father and son immerse themselves in each other’s company when the woman of the house is away. Putting first things first, they tidy up the house, with an unheralded sense of purpose motivating their actions: “Then we clean, clean, clean the windows,/wipe, wipe, wash them right./My dad shines in the windows’ light.” When their work is done, they head for the park for some batting practice, then to the movies where the boy gets to choose between films. After a snack, they work their way homeward, racing each other, doing a dance step or two, then “Dad takes my hand and slows down./I understand, and we slow down./It’s a long, long walk./We have a quiet talk and smile.” Smalls treats the material without pretense, leaving it guileless and thus accessible to readers. Hays’s artwork is wistful and idyllic, just as this day is for one small boy. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-316-79899-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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