Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The TTLG 2011 Picture Book Celebration - Book Forty

Falling in love for the first time can be a very confusing business. Unfamiliar feelings take over, and we find ourselves doing things things that make no sense at all. In today's picture book you will meet a little boy who has his first crush. Though he thinks that girls are "yuck," the new neighbor turns the poor boy's life upside down.

Don Gillmor
Illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2010, 978-1554551729
   Austin Grouper has a great life. He has a dog called Fresco, a red bicycle, and a best friend called Sternberg. Everything is as it should be. When Austin’s mother tells him that a girl his age has moved in next door, Austin says “Yuck.” Why did a girl have to move in next door? Austin does not need to have a girl in his life. Girls don’t “know anything,” and they are annoying as well. The problem is that girls can also get under your skin, which is just what happens to poor Austin. Amy gets under his skin and he finds himself feeling and doing things that are quiet alien to him. In fact, she gets under his skin so much that when he is invited to her birthday party, Austin decides to take Amy a truly splendid present. He will take her a present that she will never forget.
   This charming picture book beautifully captures the confusion and mixed-upness that comes with having a first crush. With gentle touches of humor, Marie-Louise Gay’s illustrations perfectly capture Austin’s muddled up feelings, and his determination to give Amy something truly memorable for her birthday. 

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