Hi there... This is the first page of the Letter "G" in an alphabetical list of children's books reviewed on ReadThatAgain.com... All these books are also listed by Author in another section of the site.

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Kids Books -- "G" By Title
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"Gaspard And Lisa's Rainy Day"
Written by Anne Gutman
Illustrated by Georg Hallensleben
(Hachette Livre/Alfred A. Knopf, 2001)

The "Misadventures Of Gaspard And Lisa" books are fun and funny, but perhaps best kept away from the littlest readers, as they focus on destructive behavior -- some of it unintentional, some of it perhaps not -- on the part of these two cute, clueless little moppets. With exceptional economy and wit, author Anne Gutman captures the blithe self-centeredness of childhood -- Lisa and Gaspard never see themselves as being in the wrong, but they do know when they're about to get into trouble. Artist Georg Hallensleben's splashy, impressionistic style is always a delight, and here he adds an air of adventure and forward momentum: we, the readers, are as much caught up in the moment as the characters are. In this early volume, Lisa and Gaspard are stuck inside for days on end at grandma's house and bored out of their minds. As a result, they wreak havoc and are repeatedly reprimanded. The pair make a mess in the kitchen, trash a bedroom and tear apart a framed picture while trying to "play with a puzzle." The emotional tone of their innocent inner dialogue rings true, and the art is a perfect compliment -- the story's funny, but if your kid doesn't do this kind of stuff already, you might want to wait for a while before checking this book out. No need to give 'em any ideas. (B)


"Gaspard On Vacation"
Written by Anne Gutman
Illustrated by Georg Hallensleben
(Hachette Jeunesse/Alfred A. Knopf, 2001)

Meet Gaspard, a little black dog-boy who lives in France and has a tendency to get into trouble. Gaspard's family goes to Venice, and the mischievous, willful little pup gets bored with all the museums and jumps into a kayak, disappearing all day long on the city's canals. He causes a boat wreck, then is found by the police and reunited with his worried family. This is one of the least skillful or subtle books in this series, and made me start to think, hey, maybe these aren't just strong-willed, "normal" kids after all; maybe Gaspard is just a sociopath. I didn't find this one all that entertaining. (C-)


"Giddy Up, Cowgirl"
Written by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Illustrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
(Viking, 2006)

A rambunctious but well-meaning girl tags along with her mom, trying to help out, but causing chaos at every turn. She loses the grocery list and spills the eggs, but Mom is kind and forebaring. This was okay -- we were drawn to it because the heroine was billed as a cowgirl, but she isn't, really -- she's just a modern suburban kid who likes to dress up in Western clothes and who goes by the name of "Cowgirl." The real story is about klutziness and overexcitability. The tone is kind, the kid seems real, but the text isn't terribly deep or engaging. (B-)


"Giddy-Up! Let's Ride!"
Written by Flora McDonnell
Illustrated by Flora McDonnell
(Candlewick, 1999)

Horsies, camels, donkeys and elephants all get the big, bold Flora McDonnell treatment, with colorful, plus-sized, double-page spreads and cheerful art. The text didn't do much for me, but as a visual presentation this is pretty striking. (B-)


"Giggle-Wiggle Wake-Up"
Written by Nancy White Carlstrom
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
(Alfred A. Knopf, 2003)

I love Melissa Sweet's artwork, but I loathed the text by Nancy White Carlstrom... It's all cloying, cutesy-wootsy, oogy-boogie, oopy-boopy, woppy-goppy, unsense/none-sense, overly baroque, yeah-you-think-kids-will-want-to-read-this-but-boy-are-you-so-wrong, tacky, yacky, too-much-verbiage, smokin' some herbiage, ooksy-kooksy -- will you stop already??? -- GOOP. I'm not kidding. Here's an actual sample page:

It's a tiny-shiny wake-up
and a tickle-lickle leap-up
and a sniffy-whiffy eat-up
don't you know?

It's a silly-willy pop-up
and a splashy-flashy wash-up
and a whizzy-tizzy speed-up
here we go!

It's a love-you-so-much snuggle-up
in a jingle-jangle juggle-up
It's a giggle-wiggle jump-up
it's a giggle-wiggle day!

OH, PLEASE. Give me a break. This is just so insulting to the intelligence of toddlers and infants... The text is impossible to follow and incredibly tedious... my kid instantly lost interest and only came back when I skipped the written text altogether and simply started talking about what was going on in the pictures: "Oh, look. The little boy is going to school and his mama is dropping him off... And there the bunny got loose and the little boy caught him." Fortunately, Sweet's artwork is delightful and gives you lots to talk about. Otherwise, this book is simply insufferable. Oh, well. (D)


"Gigi And Lulu's Gigantic Fight"
Written by Pamela Duncan Edwards
Illustrated by Henry Cole
(Harper Collins/Katherine Tegen Books, 2004)

Two best friends -- Gigi the pig and Lulu the mouse -- get into a big fight about nothing and both fume about it for a week, each refusing to make up with the other. When they do finally reconcile, each discovers that the other actually was a little bit different than they thought: they used to dress the same all the time, but it turns out they were dressing up in clothes that neither one really liked that much. This element of their reconciliation is a bit odd, since their fight wasn't about their whole twinsy, peas-in-a-pod relationship, but rather about a game they were playing. Like the ending, the story itself seems a bit forced, and the way in which they resolve their differences isn't really that instructive either: instead of confronting the issue at hand and saying, I'm sorry I knocked down your blocks and, yeah, I'm sorry I yelled at you too, they have a clumsy revelation about aspects of their friendship that weren't clearly problematic to begin with. There are other books that deal with problems within friendships that you might want to check out first, though I suppose this one is okay. (C+)


"Ginger"
Written by Charlotte Voake
Illustrated by Charlotte Voake
(Candlewick, 1997)

A delightful, if painfully accurate, story about two housepets who don't get along. Ginger is the older and more established cat of the house, and he is terribly put out when his human -- a sweet little girl -- brings home a rambunctious, new little kitten. After the kitten raids Ginger's food and crowds him in his basket bed, the older cat leaves home in protest. The little girl finds Ginger huddled outside, and figures out how to resolve the problem (by giving the kitten his own food and bed) and the two cats wind up being friends after all. Nice text and illustrations, easy to follow and discuss. Recommended! (B+)


"Ginger Finds A Home"
Written by Charlotte Voake
Illustrated by Charlotte Voake
(Candlewick, 2003)

A prequel to Voake's endearing Ginger, this tells the story of how an emaciated stray cat living outside in the bushes is tamed by a little girl who offers him food and affection. The sadness of the introductory part is balanced by the happy ending. Still, this story ends a bit abruptly and lacks the character growth of the first book... Affection for the cat and the little girl will draw readers in, and this volume gives just enough to satisfy that interest. I'd love to see a third Ginger book where the kitties have more of an adventure; I think that would help this one feel a bit more whole and less like it's dangling in space. Overall, though, it's another nice book. and captures the feline mind with economy and grace. (B)


"The Gingerbread Girl"
Written by Lisa Campbell Ernst
Illustrated by Lisa Campbell Ernst
(Dutton, 2006)

A mildly feminist retelling of the Gingerbread Man story... Here, the old couple that baked the first gingerbread runaway tries again, but this time makes a girl... She turns out to be faster and smarter than her older "brother" -- she still runs around and taunts the usual suspects, but she winds up outsmarting the fox and coming up with a nonviolent solution to the whole mess. She takes everyone home, bakes a bunch more goodies and throws a big party, and teaches the fox some manners. Although the theme is a little forced, this is a reasonably fun book. The rhymes and artwork are okay, and the nonviolent ending is a nice twist. Similar to Bob Graham's Dimity Dumpty, although not quite as innovative. (B)


"The Gingerbread Man"
Written by Jim Aylesworth
Illustrated by Barbara McClintock
(Scholastic Books, 1998)

A wonderful adaptation of the old folk tale of the mischievous and fleet-footed Gingerbread Man... This is the first and best of McClintock's collaborations with fabulist Jim Aylesworth, and one of the best versions of this story you'll ever find. A large part of the charm is the artwork, which is strongly reminiscent of old, Edwardian-era children's books. Some of the animals (the sow, in particular) are a bit grotesque, but not so much so that it detracts from the story. The Gingerbread Man himself is so delightfully drawn -- all smiles, shiny button eyes and happy, reckless glee -- that it's hard not to root for the little fella, even if he is asking for trouble. This version bursts with energy and life; too bad the sweet, spicy speedster has to get eaten in the end! (A+)


"Girls A To Z"
Written by Eve Bunting
Illustrated by Suzanne Bloom
(Boyds Mills Press, 2002)

A groovy, multicultural girl-power alphabet book, with Eve the Engineer, Flora the Firefighter, Ula the Umpire, and others offering the promise that any little girl can be what she wants to be when she grows up... In addition to the professional positions and more esoteric choices, there are also some more traditional roles mixed in, such as librarian, teacher, nanny and next president, so no options are denied. The artwork is nice, the message is good... My only qualm was that Chris the Computer Whiz is wheelchair-bound, the only disabled character in the book... Glad to see disabilities represented, but that particular match-up seemed a bit stereotyped. Anyway, if you're looking for a nice girl-power book, along the lines of Two Girls Can, this is a nice option. (B+)


"Girl, You're Amazing!"
Written by Virginia Kroll
Illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa
(Albert Whitman & Co., 2004)

Like its masculine companion, Boy, You're Amazing, this is a self-esteem book for kids that affirms a variety of emotional, academic and athletic skills. It's a very positive book, showing girls in a variety of activities, including many that are traditionally thought of as "masculine." It suffers only in comparison to the "boy" book, which places greater emphasis on physical accomplishment and professional opportunities. Girls are seen climbing trees, doing gymnastics, playing basketball, baseball and volleyball, but there's a preponderance of scenes involving emotional intelligence -- sharing, problem-solving, conflict resolution -- and domestic skills such as packing one's lunch, babysitting, sewing, gardening and caring for pets. Some professional possibilities are hinted at -- science is mentioned, we see small pictures of grown women flying planes and being doctors, but on the whole, this books seems pretty "girly." It's fine if read by itself, although one can't shake the feeling, if you read these two books together, that boys are being shown that they have more paths open to them and a wider variety of activities to chose from. (B)




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