As with most books that have an inherent tension within, readers will either enthusiastically respond to this title, with...

AN AWESOME BOOK OF LOVE!

Clayton, the former self-publishing phenom, continues his series of books about awesomely big concepts. Here, he proclaims and exalts love in language best described as rhyming stream of consciousness.

As in An Awesome Book (2012), the author’s voice is both intimate and enthusiastic, as if speaking to a child: “AND WHEN I’M BESIDE YOU I’M LEAPING AND BOUNDING / SO PROUD I CAN HARDLY CONTAIN MY HEART POUNDING.” As the verse goes from playfully fantastical imagery to (hopefully) tongue-in-cheek greeting-card doggerel, ultimately this title begs the question, who is this for? It’s a bit too kooky for emerging readers and a tad rambling for middle graders, and the all-uppercase text, which lacks punctuation, makes for a challenging read-aloud. The illustrations may be this title’s best hook with kids since they are full of detail and have an accessible, childlike quality. Still, readers may come away from it wondering if this is a truly sincere attempt to “SHARE THE LOVE” or a rather hokey effort that is riding the wave of previous titles’ popularity.

As with most books that have an inherent tension within, readers will either enthusiastically respond to this title, with its outsider, hipster vibe, or pass due to its lack of polish and resistance to easily fitting into any single reader category. (Picture book. All ages)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-211666-6

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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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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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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