cover image Too Quiet for These Old Bones

Too Quiet for These Old Bones

Tres Seymour. Scholastic, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-30052-7

In this rambunctious rhyming tale, four children learn that their grandmother shares their love of mayhem. At first, gray-haired Granny seems incapable of surprises; as the children fidget, she nods in her rocker, clad in a white cap, shawl, and black dress with lace cuffs. But suddenly, the elderly woman leaps up and demands ""a bang, a boom, a blast!"" The kids happily comply: ""Bang she wanted, bang she'd get./ We took her at her word./ We piled the china on the steps./ An avalanche occurred."" Nothing satisfies Granny's anarchic spirit, and only the arrival of a disapproving ""mom"" halts the commotion. Johnson (Farmers' Market) uses earth-tone acrylics framed in a clean white border to suggest a cozy house with patterned wallpaper; his stereotypical grandma looks more like a Victorian heirloom than a 1990s retiree. Seymour (I Love My Buzzard) attempts to spice up the obligatory family visit, and to show that young and old folks have a lot in common. Yet his carefully metered verse, like the controlled misbehavior, rings as false as enforced fun. In the end, the clattering pots and cap-gun shots are just as cliched as the grandmother's pince-nez and petticoats. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)