A little boy longs to help his uncle, a mason, plaster the chimney. He feels very grown-up when he gets a work-apron of his own and the chance to do his own small share in real “grown-up” work. A touching story with a valuable message, illustrated in a striking technique using a strong black outline over bright color.
“Ages 4-6. As the subtitle indicates, this book is different from much of Carle’s other work: it doesn’t deal with the natural world. Carle’s collage technique will be familiar, but the story concerns a little boy who helps his uncle Adam, a plasterer. Uncle Adam wears an apron for his work, and Aunt Elizabeth sews a smaller version for little Eric (one is included in a plastic case attached to the back of the book). The narrative is brief and straightforward, with the text set in bold black letters that pick up the black lines Carle uses to outline the shapes in his pictures. Children will easily identify with Eric’s pleasure at being allowed to help out in the adult world, and the story concentrates on the garment as a useful piece of clothing rather than as a gender marker.”
– by Mary Harris Veeder, Booklist, December 1, 1994
“PreS-Gr1. When an eight-year-old boy helps his uncle at his job as a plasterer, he takes a fancy to his workman’s apron with a pocket. As a result of his fascination, his uncle makes him an apron of his own and he spends a few days as his Uncle Adam’s assistant. the text is brief and simple but clearly conveys the warmth between the man and his nephew and the child’s satisfaction in a job well done. The line/tissue paper illustrations are colorful and somewhat geometric, reminiscent of French Cubist Léger’s work featuring laborers. An added bonus is the child-size apron that comes with the book, but the story will be enjoyed with or without the tangible item.”
-by Christine A. Moesch, School Library Journal, November, 1994
“Carle adopts a slightly different artistic technique for his latest work, superimposing strong line drawings over his trademark colored-tissue-paper collage. Inspired in part be French Cubist Fernand Léger’s paintings of laborers (as a note printed on the endpaper tells us), the illustrations are vigorous and fresh, a visual paean to honest hard work. The story is a recollection of a vacation the eight-year-old Carle spent with relatives, tagging along with his uncle, a plasterer, and wearing a white apron his aunt made especially for him. The sturdy, simple prose is as linear as the drawings, reinforcing the visual imagery, and it effectively captures the tender uncle-nephew bond and the pride a child feels in participating in important adult tasks. For aspiring young helpers, a single-pocket white apron is included wit the book. Ages 5-up.”
– Publishers Weekly, August 1, 1994