Nascent wordsmiths will be left keen to explore the expressive possibilities for themselves.

READ REVIEW

BE/HOLD

A FRIENDSHIP BOOK

An ode to the pleasures and surprises of compound words: “the smallest poem in the English language.”

Erlichman writes short lines of love and comfort, addressed to an unspecified “you” and laced throughout with standard or newly fashioned compound words: “A friendship is like that. / With sails powered by / the deepest of breaths. / Some might call it a loveship… / or a songship…or a wowship… / and they’d be right. / But even if your ship’s makeshift, / come beloved, be loved / by me.” In the fanciful, semiabstract art, human figures—most but not all adult, paper-white with red lips and other visible features, but drawn in simple, flowing lines as if wearing sheets over their heads—dance, embrace, wave, or gaze pensively outward. The voice, too, is adult (or nearly so), addressing an absent “Sweetheart” who evidently wrestles with depression and loneliness. Though the language occasionally takes a turn to the twee side (“Don’t be tooscared. Be toocared”), there is an insistent flow to the sounds and sentiments that will carry readers over the (not very rough) emotional rapids to a concluding reassurance that “you’ll always belong.” The trim is 8 ½ inches high by 6 ½ inches wide, so despite its heavily illustrated nature, it will not look out of place on YA shelves.

Nascent wordsmiths will be left keen to explore the expressive possibilities for themselves. (Picture book. 12-16)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9996584-2-0

Page Count: 68

Publisher: Penny Candy

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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UNDERSTANDING MYSELF

A KID'S GUIDE TO INTENSE EMOTIONS AND STRONG FEELINGS

Facile pop-psychology from a clinical psychologist with the credentials to know better. Assigning a chapter each to a select range of feelings—nearly all of them painful or negative ones, such as guilt, fear or anger, with but one shorter chapter allotted to the likes of love and joy—Lamia offers generalizations about what emotional responses look and feel like, typical circumstances that might cause them to arise and superficial insights (“Negative or worried thoughts spoil a good mood”). She also offers bland palliative suggestions (“Forgive yourself and move on”), self-quizzes, sound-bite comments in the margins from young people and, in colored boxes labeled “Psych Notes,” relevant research abstracts from cited but hard-to-obtain professional sources. Aside from a mildly discouraging view of “Infatuation,” she isn’t judgmental or prescriptive, but her overview is so cursory that she skips the stages of grief, makes no distinction between disgust and contempt and barely takes notice of depression. Teens and preteens might come away slightly more self-aware, but they won’t find either motivation or tools to help them cope with major upset. (Self-help. 12-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4338-0890-6

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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This probing psychological journey makes for an exciting exploration in empathy.

I WISH

This Dutch import pairs portraits with poetry to articulate wrenching individualism, yearning, humor, desires, and pathos.

Transfixing faces—mostly pale, all moon-shaped and with unsettlingly wide-set eyes—conjure mildly unnerving sensations in readers, who will seek to understand, empathize, or at least interpret their expressions. These faces aren’t posing or posturing; they’re flat on the page, laid bare. Older children and teens, in particular, keenly aware of feelings, faces, and masks, will dwell upon these ambiguous, baffling visages. Colmer’s sensitive translation emerges as crucial, as the pictures’ powerful poignancy begs for explanation. Voiced in the first person, one of Tellegen’s poems appears opposite each portrait, expressing the characters’ deeply personal wishes and ringing with their unique phrasing and particular timbre. “I wish happiness was a thing and I / found it somewhere and took it home with me,” confides Carl, one of the book’s few kids of color. Piero, a white boy, grumbles, “I would like first of all to express my sincere thanks / to whoever gave me my looks. / I mean: IN-sincere. / Because I look horrible.” The kids’ names are printed close to the book’s gutter, bridging language and art. These many portraits and poems beg to be leafed through and read in several sittings, as they house too much emotional energy to digest in one read.

This probing psychological journey makes for an exciting exploration in empathy. (Picture book/poetry. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-939810-32-8

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Elsewhere Editions

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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