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

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A HEART'S JOURNEY HOME

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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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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