A thoughtful and beautifully illustrated nature story.

LITTLE MOSS, BIG TREE

Debut author Yap-Stewart’s picture book, featuring paintings by Prytula (Happy Papas, 2018), explores a friendship between two very different plants.

A sprig of moss and a sapling are best friends who live next to each other on “an old forgotten trail on Storm King Mountain.” As time goes by, Little Tree grows much taller than Little Moss, becoming Big Tree. Still, the two plants keep their friendship intact. With the help of some animal pals, they exchange daily letters and share interesting sights they see. When a winter storm hits, though, Big Tree is knocked to the ground. After it complains of the cold, Little Moss promises to cover it, sheltering it from winter’s chill. Yap-Stewart’s story is a sweet and simple one. The text is easy to read but nicely lyrical: “Then one day, a rumble and crash. A winter storm was brewing.” However, the line “They tried to untangle the glowing Morse Code of the fireflies” may go over youngsters’ heads. Another potentially perplexing element is the fact that although Little Moss and Little/Big Tree laugh, write letters, and talk, the accompanying pictures don’t portray them anthropomorphically. Still, Prytula’s painted illustrations are fantastic, rendering realistic, incredibly detailed nature scenes with swirls of color and texture. The animal illustrations emphasize the text’s emotive elements.

A thoughtful and beautifully illustrated nature story.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-692-18690-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Pebble and Moon Publishing LLC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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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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