Charlotte Zolotow Highly Commended

Unrealistic, or highly unusual, memory loss.

She seems to remember things that are important to the granddaughter. Which is rather inconsistent with the forms of memory loss that I'm familiar with. She forgets that the granddaughters name is Lucy, not Luciano (which is Little Mamá's name). Why would she call someone else by her own name? Maybe it's Lucy's mother's name, too? I feel like I have to make a lot of excuses for this book to make sense.


When you lose your memory as you age, you lose things kind of randomly and sporadically.

Being a single mom is tough.

It's pretty. It's also very wordy, though the words are good. It kind of makes me think of Clare Turlay Newberry's books.


No matter how hard your mother has to work, she still loves you.

Might bore the parent to sleep.

Interesting use of colors in the pictures. All the outside things are definitely desaturated because of the lack of light, so the pictures are good. The poetry doesn't flow TOO badly. Just kind of a gentle putting-you-to-sleep book that probably goes on for too long, but it's trying to go on for too long. Which is the weirdest thing to me.


Everything sleeps, even inanimate objects.

Living chocolate bunnies would be kind of gross, though.

I feel like it's going to give kids ideas that that kind of thing actually could happen. I understand that imagination is awesome, I do. But you can you can have a great imagination, and also have respect for the natural world and the hard work that people put into gardens and things like that.


A magic garden would be awesome. Or, imagination is cool.

Not as good as the show.

Does New York City not have dumps? It's just strange. The garbage truck takes things to the barge instead. In my city they go to the dump. I did not know that garbage trucks were "dual op," with two sets of steering wheels, gas pedals and brakes. It's kind of refreshing that the book doesn't even try to rhyme. There's a lot of nice noises and things like that.


Garbage trucks are awesome.

But in reality, gorillas actually are dangerous.

You would think that sentient prey animals would be more aware of the different species that dwell in their vicinity, which ones are dangerous, and which aren't. Is she also afraid of parrots? Large frogs? Seriously, if there's a gorilla following you all around the freaking world but maybe you should try to figure out why.


Big, scary things just want to be your friend.

I'm the map, I'm the map, I'm the map...

Maybe the real story is that the grandfather sent a map, and the journey is metaphorical? It kind of makes me think that it's a fable that the author wrote for her son and her family, and then she thought it was really good so she published it. The art is fascinating and in a nice style. I'm not that impressed by the story because it's almost too personal for me to care about, but it's cute anyhow.


Family is important even if they're far away.

Kind of like a less cruel version of "The Cat Came Back."

I probably wouldn't read this to kids based on the amount of terrible things that happen to this poor animal, but I wouldn't be that upset if somebody read this to my children. Bad things happen in the world.


Cats have very dangerous lives.

And I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain? Before it destroys my house, I mean.

Gugu's work is not really my kind of art, but it's not bad. I wouldn't say there's an awesome message to get out of it, but it's a pretty good book. As far as I can tell, it treats the Zimbabwe culture and the specific person that this is based on rather respectfully.


Nature is cyclical.

I cannot tell a lie. But this book can.

The book almost seems like it's trying to set the record straight about Washington never actually having wooden teeth, but it fails at this because it's not accurate about what actually did happen, even according to its own timeline! At least it's not marketed as a non-fiction book, but kids aren't going to know that, and most parents probably won't even notice. But I guess ultimately the book isn't really about what the teeth are made out of, it's about dealing with problems.


Washington had problems with his teeth that were completely fixed by hippopotamus ivory dentures.