A truly supportive message for families and young children living with veterans, full of cheerful pictures, comforting...

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Mom Told Me You Are A Hero

Retired educator Gibbons intertwines definitions and familiar examples to help children understand veteran life.

The debut author, who comes from a military family, expands on the concept of a veteran for young readers: “Veterans are also called warriors or heroes. Your neighbor could be a warrior….Any grownup you see could be a veteran.” She goes on to present the various stages of military life, fully addresses the challenges of separation and travel, and offers homespun advice that may help mature concepts go down easy. Her words have the authenticity of experience and the strength of commitment when she writes, “Honor means working hard and doing things the right way….It makes you feel really, really good inside to do things right!” The author acknowledges readers who may see war differently by saying that “Not all people feel grateful for those who go away to war.” Peace protestors also get a nod, but the author notes that “Veterans want peace too. They fight for our freedom, even for the freedom of those people who say they do not like war.” Her unwavering support and sensitivity to veterans of all eras will bring comfort to its intended audience and Ottenbreit’s colorful, cartoonish illustrations are a good match for the text, showing a variety of handicaps and adaptive gear used by injured veterans. A first-person, child-centric voice makes the message personal but accessible without being preachy. However, there are no rose-colored glasses here; the book offers descriptions of scars, post-traumatic stress disorder, and child-appropriate ways to engage veterans. It also delivers a critical message for children when veteran loved ones act “scared or jumpy”: “none of it is because of you.”

A truly supportive message for families and young children living with veterans, full of cheerful pictures, comforting messages, and patriotism.

Pub Date: June 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9963198-0-5

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Village Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2015

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

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. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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