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An insightful portrayal of childhood loss and healing.

A girl struggling with grief receives help from a classmate and her father.

Lily has “a hole”—represented by a dusky violet circle on her T-shirt. Her sadness persists through festivities on her birthday, a beach trip, and more. Despite her empathetic father’s attempts to help, Lily’s hole grows as she withdraws from favorite pastimes and routines. At school, Thomas notices her distress and confides, “I have a hole too.” Thomas shows her the patches on his T-shirt. “They help you repair the hole.” Lily works on creating patches with Thomas at school, at home with Daddy, and alone. Lily’s and Thomas’ patches are symbols of things that can help us heal—pets, nature, music, and connections with others. Lehrhaupt sensitively handles a common emotional side effect of healing from grief: worrying that moving on means forgetting. “If I patch it completely, will I still remember?” asks Lily. “You won’t forget,” he reassures her. “But things will get better.” By showing Lily beginning to recover due in part to the help of a friend, Lehrhaupt demonstrates that kids have the ability to help themselves and others heal from loss. Gentle illustrations, often set against white backdrops, portray Lily and her dad with light brown skin and dark hair. Thomas has dark brown skin and curly hair; students in the classroom are diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An insightful portrayal of childhood loss and healing. (author’s note, “how to make a patch” activity) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-53411-122-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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From the Otis series

Continuing to find inspiration in the work of Virginia Lee Burton, Munro Leaf and other illustrators of the past, Long (The Little Engine That Could, 2005) offers an aw-shucks friendship tale that features a small but hardworking tractor (“putt puff puttedy chuff”) with a Little Toot–style face and a big-eared young descendant of Ferdinand the bull who gets stuck in deep, gooey mud. After the big new yellow tractor, crowds of overalls-clad locals and a red fire engine all fail to pull her out, the little tractor (who had been left behind the barn to rust after the arrival of the new tractor) comes putt-puff-puttedy-chuff-ing down the hill to entice his terrified bovine buddy successfully back to dry ground. Short on internal logic but long on creamy scenes of calf and tractor either gamboling energetically with a gaggle of McCloskey-like geese through neutral-toned fields or resting peacefully in the shade of a gnarled tree (apple, not cork), the episode will certainly draw nostalgic adults. Considering the author’s track record and influences, it may find a welcome from younger audiences too. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-399-25248-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2009

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Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of...

An international story tackles a serious global issue with Reynolds’ characteristic visual whimsy.

Gie Gie—aka Princess Gie Gie—lives with her parents in Burkina Faso. In her kingdom under “the African sky, so wild and so close,” she can tame wild dogs with her song and make grass sway, but despite grand attempts, she can neither bring the water closer to home nor make it clean. French words such as “maintenant!” (now!) and “maman” (mother) and local color like the karite tree and shea nuts place the story in a French-speaking African country. Every morning, Gie Gie and her mother perch rings of cloth and large clay pots on their heads and walk miles to the nearest well to fetch murky, brown water. The story is inspired by model Georgie Badiel, who founded the Georgie Badiel Foundation to make clean water accessible to West Africans. The details in Reynolds’ expressive illustrations highlight the beauty of the West African landscape and of Princess Gie Gie, with her cornrowed and beaded hair, but will also help readers understand that everyone needs clean water—from the children of Burkina Faso to the children of Flint, Michigan.

Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of potable water. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-17258-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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