A deeply felt, child-appropriate book on dying that’s resonant for all ages.

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COPING WITH THE LOSS OF A LOVED ONE

A debut picture book for children and adults that offers a positive perspective on loss and grief.

This elegantly simple book by Bertram, an art therapist, focuses on the close relationship between a grandmother and her grandchild. It’s told from the child’s point of view as the youngster processes the impending loss of a beloved grandmother, who once “bathed me, fed me, played with me and loved me.” The grandmother is nearing the end of her life (“[a]s I got bigger, the body Grandma’s spirit lived in became old and tired”), and now she’s being bathed, fed and loved with her grandchild’s help. Grandma’s spirit, the child says, has grown too big for the body that houses it; soon it will “rise up and she will become one with everything around me, including myself. She will be part of the rain, sun, wind, and trees.” In this comforting, soulful view of the afterlife, sunlight will be Grandma’s hug, and the rain will be Grandma saying hello. Sitting high in a “comfy” tree will be like sitting in Grandma’s lap (“I will hear her stories inside me”), and the wind will be Grandma’s invitation to run and play. And “one day,” as is the natural way of things, the child says, “I will grow too big for my house,” and “[a]s the wind, I will sing quietly in your ear….I will be the rain that taps you on the head.” The expressive flow and swirl of Bertram’s and DiGuiseppi’s colorful mixed-media illustrations provide a complementary backdrop to the well-crafted text. The author makes no reference to religion, instead offering readers of all ages an inclusive, uplifting message of transition, connection and spiritual renewal.

A deeply felt, child-appropriate book on dying that’s resonant for all ages.

Pub Date: March 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-0615896267

Page Count: 32

Publisher: BravenArt

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2014

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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