A colorfully fun book that promotes team work, curiosity and the power of imagination.

BOUNCY THE SMART BALL

A chipper, all-knowing bouncing ball brings friendship and comfort to a group of suburban kids in the Bradshaw’s debut children’s book.

Devon resigns himself to another dreary day in the suburbs as he stands despondently in his yard. Then, out of the blue, a magical talking ball, which he names Bouncy, bounces in to offer a cheerful lift to his day and a desire to play. Devon befriends the ball and they begin an earnest investigation into the world around them, with Bouncy offering fun facts that delight Devon. He introduces Bouncy to his friends, Kate and Josh, both equally isolated and bored on their own. With unashamedly enthusiastic energy, the three begin to explore topics that run the gamut from facts about the White House to the definition of a noun and the five senses. Thanks to the knowledgeable ball, the children learn the seeds of philosophical and practical discussions in a story rounded with a racially diverse cast, which adds to the book’s open and inclusive tone. The appealing full-page illustrations by Guiza—they run nearly parallel the story but couldn’t quite serve as a standalone narrative due to a few missing frames—portray children in a world curiously free of adults, the implication being that they lack, at least for the afternoon, any sort of guidance, love and positivity in an otherwise slightly drab existence. So Bouncy saves the day for the bored kids. Surreally, only children can hear him. The story unexpectedly raises questions about creationism when the kids and Bouncy seek to discover Bouncy’s “beginnings.” The answer to that question is much bigger than this short, simple but delightful book—although it’s unclear if that journey, perhaps in a sequel, would take the kids to bible school or the ball plant.

A colorfully fun book that promotes team work, curiosity and the power of imagination.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0983944409

Page Count: 26

Publisher: DPB Products

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 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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