While each individual part may not be spectacular, the sum has a quiet majesty and beauty that begs to be shared one on one.

READ REVIEW

THE DEER WATCH

A slow start to the story and the odd line breaks won’t keep readers from being mesmerized.

It’s another summer at the beach house, and a boy’s father has promised that he will at last see a deer. The two head out early, searching the dunes and the marsh grass, finding traces of wildlife but no deer. A working bulldozer keeps deer away from the road, but the conservation land holds promise. The narrator knows he must keep still and quiet, but it is a mighty battle against his body, which has the wiggles. In the end, their patience is rewarded by a vision so awesome that the boy has trouble putting it into words—“the memory would never leave— / …  / our two worlds crossed / for just a magic while.” In an odd mix of childlike voice and adult sensibility that nonetheless entrances, lyrical sentences capture the scenery in words: “…There / was a pond, a shiny mirror / full of trees all upside down / and water lilies right side up.” Slonim’s textured oil paintings, with visible brush strokes, evoke childhood, nature and the tender relationship between a father and son, adding to the scenes described in the text instead of mirroring them.

While each individual part may not be spectacular, the sum has a quiet majesty and beauty that begs to be shared one on one. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 9, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4890-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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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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A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE LAST CHOCOLATE

From the Love Monster series

The surprised recipient of a box of chocolates agonizes over whether to eat the whole box himself or share with his friends.

Love Monster is a chocoholic, so when he discovers the box on his doorstep, his mouth waters just thinking about what might be inside; his favorite’s a double chocolate strawberry swirl. The brief thought that he should share these treats with his friends is easily rationalized away. Maybe there won’t be enough for everyone, perhaps someone will eat his favorite, or, even worse, leave him with his least favorite: the coffee one! Bright’s pacing and tone are on target throughout, her words conveying to readers exactly what the monster is thinking and feeling: “So he went into his house. And so did the box of chocolates…without a whisper of a word to anyone.” This is followed by a “queasy-squeezy” feeling akin to guilt and then by a full-tilt run to his friends, chocolates in hand, and a breathless, stream-of-consciousness confession, only to be brought up short by what’s actually in the box. And the moral is just right: “You see, sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others…that you start to find out just how much they think of you.” Monster’s wide eyes and toothy mouth convey his emotions wonderfully, and the simple backgrounds keep the focus on his struggle.

A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-00-754030-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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