From Publishers Weekly
Cooke's (So Much) rhythmic prose hits a magical note between chant and lullaby, and her tale conveys a bone-deep understanding of how children cherish familial ties. As Jay Jay helps his grandmother prepare for the extended family's Sunday dinner, he finds a comforting, often palpable abundance everywhere he looks. Grannie herself is "soft and warm and full,/ full of hugs and kisses./ Kiss, kiss./ Hugs and cuddles." When Grannie distracts an increasingly hungry Jay Jay with a visit to her fish tank, he notices that it, too, is "full,/ full of all kinds of fishes./ Splash, splish./ Wiggle, wiggle." Howard's (The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark) artwork throughout the book has an expansive, unbuttoned feel, but the spread for this latter vignette is particularly striking: he contrasts the grandmother and grandson's warm, coffee-toned skin and soft, chocolate eyes with the tropically-hued array swimming in front of them. When dinner finally appears on the table, Cooke shifts to rhyming couplets that fairly telegraph Jay Jay's anticipation ("There were buttery peas,/ chicken and yams,/ macaroni and cheese,/ potatoes and ham"). Howard similarly turns the mouth-watering meal into a feast for the eyes. Readers will find themselves joining Jay Jay in contentedly savoring the way a gathering of loved ones feels deliciously big and complete. Ages 2-up.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1-Jay Jay is dropped off at his grandmother's house while his mother goes to pick up Dad. Grannie's house is full of love, full of food, and full of family and friends. It is also full of interesting things to do and all of the attention an active boy needs. While Grannie prepares dinner, hungry Jay Jay distracts her over and over again. Experienced and unflappable, she keeps him busy setting the table, watching the fish in the tank, and looking out the window for expected guests. When everyone arrives, a wonderful feast is set out-chicken and yams, collard greens, biscuits, and much more. The text has a catchy rhythm and lots of descriptive words. The acrylic-and-pencil illustrations bring it all home. This family resemblance is clear in the depictions of these African-American relatives. Grannie's home is attractive and everything about her is comfortable-her slippers are soft and her armchair is cushiony. Pair this book with Cathryn Falwell's Feast for 10 (Clarion, 1993) in storytime or share it with someone alone. Just don't miss it.Marlene Gawron, formerly at Orange County Library, Orlando, FL
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.