An often painful yet forthright tale of loss and healing in a time of war.

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SMALL BLACK BOXES

The Pritchard family comes to terms with the death of a family member in Turner’s (Rufus Steele 1940, 2010, etc.) latest emotionally charged tale.

When Walter Pritchard is killed in Afghanistan near the village of Kandahar, his belongings are carried to the Pritchard home in a series of numbered black boxes. Within each box are mementos of the man’s life, returned to his family by the military after being carefully catalogued and separated. Learning from the contents of the boxes, young Leah Pritchard slowly copes with the absence of her father while, within the household, her little brother Noah and mother Elise attempt to do the same. Short chapters, each containing kernels of Walter’s life, work as intriguing windows for the reader to peer into the lives of America’s war-torn families and those who died in service to their country. Here we see one particular serviceman’s world and how each cherished article within the black boxes shaped the tightly knit, loving family he left behind. Leah, who consoles herself by spending time alone with her father’s possessions, finds the collar of Clyde, the family’s Labrador, within box five. In box six she finds a nearly complete painting her father made of a young Afghan girl. In box 11, a journal she shared with her father. Box one, however, Elise keeps for herself. In time, Leah learns of its mundane contents and of her mother’s fervent need to remember her husband’s smell and touch during her own tumultuous recovery process.  Turner’s style carries an alluring simplicity and offers no opinions on the war in Afghanistan, only in the way it affects the family of Walter Pritchard. Turner’s audience will likely find themselves mourning the death of Leah’s father with each chapter and subsequently learning how to live with the loss.

An often painful yet forthright tale of loss and healing in a time of war.

Pub Date: June 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0982284247

Page Count: 79

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Oct. 4, 2010

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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CINDERELLA

This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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