A book that introduces kids to inner-wisdom concepts in an unusual, entertaining, and warmhearted manner.


From the Adventures of Eli Benjamin Bear series , Vol. 1

In this children’s tale in verse, a young bear has a heart operation and must find his way home to hibernate before winter sets in.

In 1955, winter is coming to Bear Ridge, Tennessee, and Elijah “Eli” Benjamin Bear—the story’s narrator—is born two months premature with a heart problem. The local, human doctors aren’t equipped to handle it, so they send Eli 600 miles away to Heroic Hearts hospital in Duck Bill, Mississippi. However, his parents can’t go with him; his father, a traveling salesman, is away, and his 400-pound mother won’t fit in the humans’ van. Eli’s mom sends him off with a special blanket that will give him wisdom and the ability to speak human language, as well as a code of essentials for life, written by his father. At the hospital, Eli gets necessary treatment—even though he’s the only nonhuman there—and he makes friends with his roommate, Billy, who kindly gives him his stuffed rabbit. Also kind is Nurse Dora, who provides Eli with sage advice about listening to his heart and asking for help from the “Great Bear Spirit.” Realizing that it’ll soon be time to hibernate, Eli conceives a bold plan to return home. It will require help from several friends and all his newfound wisdom. In his debut, Price confusingly melds the human and bear worlds; for example, it’s puzzling that Billy is astonished that Eli can talk, but that the Duck Bill doctors aren’t surprised at all. Still, the book offers a surprisingly successful blend of humor, self-help spirituality, and sweetness in verse that rhymes and scans well. When Eli asks Nurse Dora if she herself knows the Great Bear, she replies, “Love takes many forms. / For bears it is more furry, / But for all, love is the norm.” This is a perfectly wonderful concept, and one that’s emblematic of the book’s overall flavor. Bayouth’s (There’s a Zebra in My Hospital Room!, 2016) pencil drawings are cartoonish in style, but detailed, lively, and expressive. 

A book that introduces kids to inner-wisdom concepts in an unusual, entertaining, and warmhearted manner.

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9833562-0-2

Page Count: 250

Publisher: Heroic Hearts Media

Review Posted Online: Aug. 24, 2018

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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. 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


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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