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


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...


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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A close encounter of the best kind.


Left behind when the space bus departs, a child discovers that the moon isn’t as lifeless as it looks.

While the rest of the space-suited class follows the teacher like ducklings, one laggard carrying crayons and a sketchbook sits down to draw our home planet floating overhead, falls asleep, and wakes to see the bus zooming off. The bright yellow bus, the gaggle of playful field-trippers, and even the dull gray boulders strewn over the equally dull gray lunar surface have a rounded solidity suggestive of Plasticine models in Hare’s wordless but cinematic scenes…as do the rubbery, one-eyed, dull gray creatures (think: those stress-busting dolls with ears that pop out when squeezed) that emerge from the regolith. The mutual shock lasts but a moment before the lunarians eagerly grab the proffered crayons to brighten the bland gray setting with silly designs. The creatures dive into the dust when the bus swoops back down but pop up to exchange goodbye waves with the errant child, who turns out to be an olive-skinned kid with a mop of brown hair last seen drawing one of their new friends with the one crayon—gray, of course—left in the box. Body language is expressive enough in this debut outing to make a verbal narrative superfluous.

A close encounter of the best kind. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4253-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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