A charming carpe diem tale for readers of all ages.

FIFTEEN FEET OF TIME

A PICTURE STORY BY LENA HESSE AND PHILIPP WINTERBERG

In this whimsical debut picture book translated from the German, Hesse and Winterberg implore young and adult readers alike to embrace what they love to do.

The authors tackle the theme of what people can do when they’re true to themselves. Playing to this idea, they show characters forgoing mundane routines and defying expectations. For instance, while stuck in traffic, a weather-forecasting frog on his way to a TV studio “was about to honk his horn” when he saw the sun rising in his rearview mirror. “He frowned and thought to himself…I’ve been doing this for so long now that I can’t even recall the last time that I actually felt and enjoyed the weather.” Breaking from his routine, he climbs to the highest rooftop of a nearby building to bask in the sun. Meanwhile, an Italian violin famous throughout the land decides to perform spontaneously while standing on top of her limousine, dazzling her fellow commuters sitting in traffic. Close by, two penguins on their way to work in the city’s casino spot a large spider knitting outside her window and implore her to make them a hammock, “[s]o we can put it up over the street and sit in it! And listen to the violin play and enjoy the sun.” In the end, the story shows how small acts of joy can inspire others. Throughout, Hesse’s mixed-media illustrations will delight both children and adult readers; her picture of an overweight businessman sporting a tie emblazoned with Chinese text and an older woman wearing “recycled” clothes, for example, provides priceless commentary on how the rich and elderly are valued in today’s global economy. Readers will also appreciate the fantastic illustrations of card-playing penguins and a firefighting gargoyle, despite the muted earth tones used throughout. Although the English translation is stilted at times, readers will still find it easy to appreciate the universal themes in this clever picture book.

A charming carpe diem tale for readers of all ages. 

Pub Date: March 30, 2013

ISBN: 978-1483987613

Page Count: 32

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2014

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Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.

THERE'S A MONSTER IN YOUR BOOK

From the Who's in Your Book? series

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 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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