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FLASHLIGHT

While staying overnight at Grandpa's, young Marie is scared once the lights are out: ``Mom and Dad are far away, in the bedroom down the hall.'' She is nervous on the fold-out couch in the living room. Grandpa hears her, and provides a flashlight. Marie experiments. She flicks it on and off, comparing the spotlight to the light of day. She finds that moths love her light, and feels she can protect her sleeping sister from the darkness and the unknown. Her confidence grows till she declares herself queen of the night world, but her fears return, and she must call Grandpa one more time before she whispers, ``Don't be scared, Tibby. I've got a flashlight.'' It is a very familiar scenario, although James (Mary Ann, 1994, etc.) adequately captures the different moods and deliberations of Marie as her self-confidence grows. Schuett has an impossible task: capturing on a static page the flickering of the flashlight and the looming shadows in the room. One inspired spread shows ``whining midges, bumbling June bugs'' clinging to a screen, but many scenes repeat Marie's wide-eyed fear and illumination of homely corners of the apartment. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-679-87970-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1997

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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NOT A BOX

Dedicated “to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,” this elemental debut depicts a bunny with big, looping ears demonstrating to a rather thick, unseen questioner (“Are you still standing around in that box?”) that what might look like an ordinary carton is actually a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a spaceship or anything else the imagination might dream up. Portis pairs each question and increasingly emphatic response with a playscape of Crockett Johnson–style simplicity, digitally drawn with single red and black lines against generally pale color fields. Appropriately bound in brown paper, this makes its profound point more directly than such like-themed tales as Marisabina Russo’s Big Brown Box (2000) or Dana Kessimakis Smith’s Brave Spaceboy (2005). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-112322-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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