cover image Gus and Grandpa

Gus and Grandpa

Claudia Mills. Farrar Straus Giroux, $13 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-374-32824-5

The first installment in a projected series, this wry trio of tales features a engagingly imperfect boy and his engagingly imperfect grandfather. Gus here makes three visits to Grandpa's house. The first time, he plays mainly with Skipper the dog, to whom he throws pieces of dog food (""Maybe Gus could train Skipper to be a circus dog. Maybe he could train Skipper to be a famous dog-food catcher"") and creates quite a mess in the process. The other two stories more directly showcase Grandpa's gently ironic sense of humor, as well as the close bond between the pair: Grandpa and Gus go shopping and forget where the car is parked; Grandpa and Gus celebrate their birthdays together. Accommodating beginning readers, Mills's (Dinah Forever) controlled vocabulary and considerable repetition are also used to comic effect. Stock (Tap-Tap; Galimoto) builds on the breezy mood with dynamic, sketchy art, adding details that amplify the proceedings (at the birthday party, Gus wears a paper crown, while Grandpa dons a pirate hat). A witty, warm offering. Ages 6-8. (Mar.)