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

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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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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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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