Grace for Gus by Harry Bliss

Published by Katherine Tegen Books

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Summary:  In this nearly wordless picture book, Grace is determined to help her friend Gus, the class guinea pig, get a new friend.  After school, she does her homework, eats dinner and helps her dads do the dishes, says good night, then climbs out of her bedroom window, violin in hand.  Her first stop is a subway station, where she opens the violin case and performs; from there, it’s on to Central Park to draw caricatures; finally, she returns to the subway, where she breaks into an impromptu dance routine on the train.  People cheer and give her money for all her efforts, and the next day, she is able to fill the “Gus Buddy Fund” jar in her classroom.  The final page shows Gus with his new guinea pig friend.  40 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  There is so much to look at in this book that will be fun for children and adults.  Look for Woody Allen, Alfred Hitchcock, Donald Trump, Tintin and Snowy, Charlie Brown, and Calvin’s friend Hobbes in the pictures.  Grace herself looks a lot like Marcie from Peanuts.  Keep an eye peeled for other details like a “Jimmy Hoffa Found” headline and the “Tax Relief” billboard behind Trump.  Once is not enough to catch all that this book has to offer.

Cons:  Many of the allusions that adults will enjoy will go right over the heads of most kid readers.

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here.

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