A comforting resource for military families coping with deployment and a worthwhile addition to any library.

MY MOMMY IS A HERO

With its companion, one of two delightful books that celebrate parents who are in the military.

Tolson showcases military mommies from different branches of the armed services (Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy) and of every color. The book starts off with three different mommies saying goodbye to their families. The first-person rhyming text reiterates that “my mommy is a hero” for many reasons. She is “courageous, strong, inspired.” She is “leading others every day.” She “helps people in need.” The second line in each stanza often echoes emotions military children might feel when their mommies are deployed. The line “I know she’s always with me, even when she’s far away” is illustrated by a small vignette of a child writing a letter to Mommy. On another page, another mom is helping her daughter with her homework as the text reads “I love her and look up to her, she’s always guiding me.” Complementing the characters’ racial diversity are their wide-ranging jobs. A pilot sits in the cockpit while an aircraft marshall directs traffic on the runway. A medic treats a child in a rural village. Companion title My Daddy Is a Hero is similar in vein but with different scenarios. Nonetheless, the concepts are parallel, and both books highlight the leadership and bravery of both women and men in uniform.

A comforting resource for military families coping with deployment and a worthwhile addition to any library. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61067-721-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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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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Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

HOME

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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