This book’s straightforward rhythm and appealing illustrations will likely make it a favorite of parents and young children.

Longer Than Forevermore

A children’s picture book that presents a story within a story about the enduring nature of love.

West (Jake, Dad and the Worm, 2013) uses soft, realistic artwork and simple language to tell a reassuring tale. The book opens and closes with stark, black-and-white silhouette illustrations of a young girl and a baby reading a book together (“I’ll turn the pages and you can look at the pictures,” the girl says). This frames the central, rhyming text, told from a plural first-person point of view, about the many ways that a person can be loved: “We love you when you’re roaring, or as quiet as a mouse.” This main section features bright, colorful images of pleasing landscapes, animals, and a young boy in what appears to be a somewhat digitized watercolor style. The text is simple, but it has a classic feel, and it avoids flashiness and humorous touches in favor of a serious but positive tone. It also isn’t overly wordy; most pages contain just a single sentence, and this brevity will make the book work well as a read-aloud for younger children. (In this context, the young girl’s phrase, “You were a good listener!,” will ring true.) The soothing images and calm, reassuring language make it an ideal bedtime book, as well. Even if the pacing isn’t always perfect, the rhyming text throughout gives the story a pleasing rhythm, as in lines such as, “More than all the grains of sand, which we could never count. And if we add them all…we’ll love you more than that amount.” The illustrations are often beautiful, but the printing quality diminishes them, making them look a bit fuzzy and distorted. It’s not something that’s likely to bother children, but it’s still unfortunate that some of the images’ sharpness has been lost.

This book’s straightforward rhythm and appealing illustrations will likely make it a favorite of parents and young children.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0988678422

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Park Place Press

Review Posted Online: July 30, 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. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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