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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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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