A good choice to share with a bereaved child: poignant, but not heavily sentimental.

FINN'S FEATHER

One spring morning young Finn finds a big white feather on his doorstep that, he thinks, was sent by his brother from heaven.

His mother and teacher only smile when he announces that it’s from Hamish, but his friend Lucas gets properly excited: “It’s amazing!” he marvels and then asks Finn what he’s going to do with it. First the two lads construct a pretend castle (from, in the colored-pencil illustrations, improbably large logs) and place the feather right on top; then it’s off to have further fun with chases and with tickles, to mount a rescue when it’s blown into a tree, and finally to write a letter to Hamish with it—“I whish you were here,” the little boy prints carefully—to be likewise deposited in a tree for the wind to deliver. Despite the situation (Noble herself lost a son named Hamish, according to the flap copy) and the pictures’ muted colors and soft focus, the episode is less about grieving the loss of a loved one than finding positive ways to remember and to regard the deceased. Finn and his mother are white; Lucas, their teacher, and some of the children in several scenes have slightly darker complexions.

A good choice to share with a bereaved child: poignant, but not heavily sentimental. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-59270-239-8

Page Count: -

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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Everything that readers have come to love about the Elephant & Piggie books is present—masterful pacing, easy-to-follow,...

MY NEW FRIEND IS SO FUN!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Can Gerald and Piggie’s friendship withstand the friendly overtures of Brian Bat?

When Snake informs Gerald that Piggie is playing with Brian Bat, he is at first complacent. Brian is “nice,” he observes; Snake concurs—after all, he says, “Brian is my Best Friend!” Their mutual reflection that Piggie and Brian “must be having a super-duper fun time!” turns, however, to paranoia when they realize that if their best pals “are having that much fun together, then… / …maybe they do not need us” (that last is printed in teeny-tiny, utterly demoralized type). Gerald and Snake dash/slither to put an end to the fun. Their fears are confirmed when the two new buddies tell them they have “been playing BEST FRIEND GAMES!”—which, it turns out, means making drawings of their respective best friends, Gerald and Snake. Awww. While the buildup to the friends’ confrontation is characteristically funny, there’s a certain feeling of anticlimax to the story’s resolution. How many young children, when playing with a new friend, are likely to spend their time thinking of the friends that they are not playing with? This is unfortunate, as the emotions that Gerald and Snake experience are realistic and profound, deserving of more than a platitudinous, unrealistic response.

Everything that readers have come to love about the Elephant & Piggie books is present—masterful pacing, easy-to-follow, color-coded speech bubbles, hilarious body language—except an emotionally satisfying ending. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7958-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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