K-Gr 3-This wooden story presents an African American boy's feelings and apprehensions when he chooses to live with his grandparents rather than his drug-addicted mother. His grandparents spend time with him and obviously love and care for him, but he worries that the kids at school will ridicule him because he doesn't live with a parent. His grandmother volunteers to come to Parents' Day, and when some of his classmates reveal that they, too, don't live with their mother or father, everything is fine. While the book certainly reflects the experiences of many children and conveys the worthy messages that extended families can be caring and classmates accepting, Robert's lack of concern for his mother's plight seems unrealistic. The watercolor-and-ink illustrations are stiff, and the characters lack visual continuity from page to page. The contemporary school is appropriately multiethnic but the depiction of details such as the blackboard content, desks, and clothing styles look dated. An uneven treatment of an all-too-common situation.-Susan Hepler, Alexandria City Public Schools, VA
Because his divorced mother has been taking drugs and leaving him alone for hours at a time, Robert goes to live with his grandparents while his mother gets help. Robert likes living with his grandparents: he has a nice room, good food, and a basketball hoop in the driveway. But he's embarrassed at the thought of his grandmother visiting on parents' day. Robert's thoughts and actions ring true (as does his discovery that some other classmates also live with grandparents), but that's not the case with the story's happy ending, which shows classmates cheering Robert's relative on to become class grandmother and shows Robert walking off at the end of the day holding his grandmother's hand. Hinton's realistic watercolors depict a struggling African American family with dignity and grace.