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HOPE IS AN OPEN HEART by Lauren Thompson


by Lauren Thompson

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-545-03737-2
Publisher: Scholastic

Photographs: a child behind a raindrop-spattered window; a child’s face bearing a single tear; a long shot of a child holding her mother’s hand on the beach. Each page carries a sentence or two about what hope is: “finding happiness in simple things,” “a candle flame in the darkness,” “remembering [your father’s] kisses when he can’t be there with you.” The photographs, over double spreads or in tight close-up, are mostly children of many ethnicities and locales (they are all sourced and Thompson explains who some of them are in notes at the end). It is difficult to quite see how this highly metaphorical treatment would explain what “hope” is to children, who are, after all, well known for their literal thinking. Awash in sentimentality, this string of statements accretes effectively to meaninglessness: How can hope be “holding tight to your mother’s hand” and “the glistening of snow when the storm has passed?” Young readers will find a lot more to hope for in Thompson’s The Apple Pie That Papa Baked (2007), illustrated by Jonathan Bean. (Picture book. 5-8)