Bliss, Harry. Grace for Gus. Katherine Tegen Books, 2018. ISBN 978-0-06-264410-7. $17.99. 40 pages. Ages teen and up. P7 Q7
Grace is a highly talented elementary school student who takes it upon herself to make money for her classroom to buy their guinea pig, Gus, a guinea pig friend. Grace does this by sneaking out her bedroom window at night to entertain the people of New York by playing her violin on street corners, caricaturing in the park, and pole dancing on a subway. The author tells the story through engaging, colorful illustrations in comic book format, with no dialogue.
My only complaint is Grace is an elementary student who sneaks out her bedroom window to perform for money in the middle of the night. Grace has two parents (two men) who seemingly love her very much. How is it remotely plausible that an elementary school student from a loving family without hardship would think to do this, much less actually do it? Therefore, the believability of the book is questionable, while the story of the book is sweet, kind, and adventuresome.
For the adults reading the book, throughout the story Bliss adds references to famous people and places, from as early as the 70’s to present day. Some with a biting sense of humor. For instance, Donald Trump sitting on the subway in front of a tax relief poster.
Verdict: An amazingly illustrated story for all ages, which may require some guidance for the younger readers.
May 2018 review by Terri Lippert.