The dragons’ acceptance of the heroine’s reactions, their solid advice, and a kid-friendly elephant children can identify...

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ELLIE AND HER EMOTIONAL DRAGONS

A young elephant deals with her feelings with the help of four tiny dragons who live in her closet in this debut picture book.

Ellie the elephant has four magic dragons: Naz, who assists her when she’s afraid; Nali, who consoles her when she’s sad; Tully, who helps her check her anger; and Hani, who shares her happiness. When Ellie is startled by sounds in her new home, Naz tells her it’s all right to be scared and offers tips on how to handle her fears. When Ellie is unhappy because her father goes to work, Nali encourages her to draw a picture to lift her spirits. When a new friend rips her picture, Tully suggests she take deep breaths to calm down. In Goodrich’s clever tale about coping, the dragons provide sound counsel (“We can always draw another picture,” Tully asserts). Each dragon is in a bold color, which Van Wagoner (Nelson Beats the Odds Activity Guide, 2019, etc.) uses to great effect in a paint-splatter style. The dragons leave trails of brilliant hues when they fly, but other colors in the beautiful illustrations, such as the purple of Ellie’s skin or the gray of her noisy radiator, extend beyond their characters or objects to enhance the pages.

The dragons’ acceptance of the heroine’s reactions, their solid advice, and a kid-friendly elephant children can identify with should resonate with young readers struggling to manage their emotions.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73285530-4

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Wisdom House Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

I WISH YOU MORE

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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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. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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