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Camilla Gryski.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 1990.
112pp., paper, $9.95.
ISBN 0-021103-99-9. CIP.

Subject Heading:
Hand-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-6 / Ages 7-11

Reviewed by Theo Hersh.

Volume 19 Number 2
1991 March

The temptation to pun one's way through a review of Hands On, Thumbs Up is difficult to resist. This is, after all, a handsome book full of handy facts about hands. Can I handle the temptation? I decided I could not compete with Gryski's "Cinderella - Retold by an Old Hand," which contains no less than twenty hand puns.

Camilla Gryski, known for her wonderful books of string games, has written a thoroughly entertaining and fascinating book about hands. The research, she sighs, became an awesome two-year task as one question led to another. Gryski magically hones that information into a succinct and enjoyable text.

Written in the second person, a difficult voice to utilize effectively in non-fiction, Hands On, Thumbs Up bursts with Gryski's infectious enthusiasm. It is a book that had to be written in the second person because Gryski is sharing with her readers - talking directly to each reader - all the exciting things she has learned.

>From its 112 pages, subjects such as hand anatomy, sign language, handlore, games, activities, and stories spill out. Pat Cupples' serviceable black-and-white drawings highlight the facts and fancies about hands on every page. The suggested cataloguing in publication places Hands On, Thumbs Up in human physiology, but school and public librarians should not allow the book to become lost on that shelf.

Nominated for the IODE award for 1990, Hands On, Thumbs Up is a non-fiction book that all readers will enjoy. Aptly named, it is definitely a hands-on book and, to paraphrase two well-known film critics, it gets two thumbs up!

Theo Hersh, Toronto Public Library, Toronto, ON.
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