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Willie and Uncle Bill

Willie and Uncle Bill

by Amy Schwartz

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Wow! What a time Willie has when Uncle Bill sits for him. When Willie's mother is gone, exciting things just seem to happen. In three separate adventures, the duo gets to try out a new look, cook up something fun, and rock out.


Wow! What a time Willie has when Uncle Bill sits for him. When Willie's mother is gone, exciting things just seem to happen. In three separate adventures, the duo gets to try out a new look, cook up something fun, and rock out.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Aunts and uncles offer an impish alternative reality for children, and Willie’s hipster Uncle Bill is a case in point. He rocks the geek chic look (rolled jeans, fluorescent socks, retro button-downs); he doesn’t blanch at wearing one of Mom’s ruffled aprons while whipping up tacos from scratch; and he’s a keen judge of haircuts, especially when dictated by Willie’s attempt at self-barbering (“It’s very... Now”). And in the last of the book’s three short stories, he takes Willie on a surreptitious subway expedition to jam with a garage band (“The woman with the crazy pants did a split. So did Willie”). Schwartz’s (Tiny and Hercules) cartooning runs the gamut from crisp, distilled images that are as cool as her hero to extravagantly detailed scenes that capture the sensory overload of his genially outré mindset (she draws every brick on every building on the garage band’s block). Her poker-faced, reportorial prose is marred by somewhat corny wordplay in each story’s wrap-up, but otherwise this is a stylish and loving tribute to a modern-day, male Auntie Mame. Ages 4–8. Agent: Jane Feder. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Nicole Peterson Davis
This book might give some kids some ideas. But then again, it might give some adults the answers about how to react to those ideas that kids might have. In three separate adventures, Uncle Bill comes over to watch Willie. Some pretty crazy things happen while Uncle Bill is around. Once Willie cut his own hair. The second time they made "yucky soup" and fed it to the seagulls. And finally, Uncle Bill took Willie to rock with the Purple Tomatoes. The illustrations are a perfect match for the clever text, giving the story vigor and depth. The puns at the end of each section are amusing and witty. If a child has already cut his/her hair, or likes crazy adventures, this book will be enjoyable. This book is a laugh for adults who have lived through these experiences or have siblings who have done crazy things with their children. However, be cautious if you know a child who is prone to trying out new ideas because they might get some by reading this book. Reviewer: Nicole Peterson Davis
School Library Journal
PreS-K—Three separate episodes describe Willie's adventures while in his uncle's care. First, the long-haired child locks himself in the bathroom and gives himself haircut. Uncle Bill tries to make it better but soon realizes that they need professional help. So off they go to the hair salon where Willie gets a very short haircut. In the second episode, Willie and Bill make "icky stew." Bill throws everything that the boy suggests into a pot: mustard, chocolate, tuna, liverwurst, and pistachio ice cream. The result is something that neither one of them will even taste so they offer it up to everyone in the neighborhood. The only takers are the seagulls in the park. When Mom inquires what they did, they say they spent the afternoon "stewing around." The third adventure involves a nighttime visit to a garage band's rehearsal. Uncle Bill plays a set, and then Willie gleefully joins in. Then it's a race to get home before Mom. There are often four or five scenes per spread. The characters are elongated, giving a cartoon feel to the gouache and pen-and-ink illustrations. Kids will like these satisfying clandestine adventures and look forward to Uncle Bill's next visit.—Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI

Product Details

Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.60(w) x 9.80(h) x 0.30(d)
360L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

AMY SCHWARTZ is the author and illustrator of many distinguished picture books, including Bea and Mr. Jones, a Reading Rainbow Featured Book; What James Likes Best, winner of the Charlotte Zolotow Award; and A Teeny Tiny Baby, which received four starred reviews. In a starred review, Booklist raved, "Schwartz knows just what children will find interesting." The New York Times has called her work "charming and hilariously understated." She lives in New York City.

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