A cozy tale with fantasy elements that lightly delivers a lesson.



A playful butterfly attempts to take flight in this series picture book.

Bethany Butterfly “loves to sing and flap her butterfly wings,” but hasn’t yet flown. She crosses out days of the week on a calendar to mark her attempts. Monday is too foggy. On Tuesday, Bethany apparently floats down to a pond, using a parasol. It snows on Wednesday. But when will be the day that Bethany soars on her own? This fourth book in Gray’s (Sidewalk Stories: The Lemonade Landing Mat, 2018, etc.) series features a simple, character-building message. In Shannon’s (The Moon Fox, 2019, etc.) sprightly, vivid illustrations, Bethany is blue, wears red sneakers, and has multicolored wings. She lives in a tiny furnished house in an anthropomorphic oak tree named Otis. Other friends include a white boy, a helpful squirrel, and a lounging cactus. Gray’s sunny narrative, composed of short lines of text above full-page illustrations, will keep young readers focused on the message of determination, with a recitation of weekdays as a parallel lesson. Coloring pages and humorous character bios, written as if the story were a performance, further add to the fun. However, an awkward request for readers to “please be part of our success” by contributing online reviews might be rethought in future editions.

A cozy tale with fantasy elements that lightly delivers a lesson.

Pub Date: March 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-09-032421-4

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves


A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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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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