By Lyda Whiting
BLESS YOUR HEART
Written by Holly Bea
Illustrated by Kim Howard
A brother and sister are up at dawn looking forward to a day of adventure and fun. Their mom and dad offer blessings for the morning, and the family sets out together. Playing with friends, splashing the surf, and exploring tide pools are all opportunities for joy and thanks. The day alternates between lively play and quiet contemplation, and ends toasting marshmallows over a campfire. As the family gets ready for bed, they even bless their time of rest.
A beach vacation is the setting for this gentle book about appreciating each moment as special. As the children move from one activity to another, the blessings of the day unfold. Every minute holds joy for this family, whether building sandcastles, doing chores, or saying good night.
The simplicity of the two-line poem on each page is beautifully complemented by the detailed and softly-colored illustrations. The people, beach creatures, and scenery are richly detailed and realistic while charming and appealing to children. The full-page paintings work well to create a loving gentle mood.
The book focuses on remembering that all life is a blessing, without
mentioning any belief system or deity. This makes the book appropriate for a
wide range of families and particularly useful in a classroom setting. This
writer and illustrator collaborated on three other children’s books before this
one: Good Night God, My Spiritual Alphabet Book, and Where Does God Live?
For children ages 2-5.
Published by Starseed Press, this book is available at your local bookstore.
GRAPETTE THE RUNAWAY WHO ROLLED AWAY
Written by Svetlana Konnikova
Illustrated by Anatoli Smishliaev
Grapette’s mother, a beautiful French grapevine, tells her grape children exciting stories about the world. But she keeps her children close to home and watches over them carefully. Little Grapette is bored with spending all her time hanging around on the grapevine. She longs explore the world, and one day she manages to break free and roll across the fields.
Mama-Grapevine calls for help in finding her daughter, and the chase is on.
First a butterfly, then a sparrow, then a hawk, begin to chase Grapette. Soon a
storm cloud and a stream join in. Before long, the townspeople and all of nature
are working together to get Grapette home again. A wood nymph scoops up Grapette
to return her to her mother’s lap, and Grapette realizes how much she is loved.
Filled with unusual characters, this enchanting story is based on an ancient French folk tale. The story moves quickly and becomes sillier as the chase gets more involved. The story ends with a happy Grapette safe at home and remembering her great adventure.
The whimsical illustrations bring Grapette, her mother, and the other
characters to colorful life. Children will laugh at the storm cloud’s expressive
face and the stream’s wavy hair and foamy dress. The pictures swirl and curl
like a grapevine, adding movement and grace to the pages.
For children ages 4-8.
Published by Aurora Publishers, Inc., this book is available at your
Written by Brian D. McClure
Illustrated by Buddy Plumlee
The little Raindrop thinks it is too small and unimportant to make a difference. Surrounded by millions of others, the Raindrop falls to the ground thinking only of itself. The earth and all the creatures living on it sing their thanks for the rain, but the Raindrop does not listen. When it sinks into the ground, the Raindrop is afraid of the darkness. The Raindrop stays underground for a time, and then comes out of a hose and gets sucked up by the root of a corn plant.
The Raindrop comes up the stem and out into the light again, and suddenly sees it is part of the water system and very important indeed. The Raindrop continues the cycle, evaporating and becoming rain again, but now remembering that everything is really one, and that everything is important… even a little Raindrop.
This adventurous journey of a raindrop will remind children of the contribution of even the smallest to the world. It will help children see that they too are important and special. Children will also learn about the water cycle, and about the natural ebb and flow of life.
The soft colors of the illustrations and the whimsical expressions on the
Raindrop enliven the text. The pictures have an endearingly childlike quality
that will appeal to children. This story may become a favorite for children to
tell in their own words, aided by the detailed paintings.
For children ages 3-6.
Published by Universal Flag Publishing, this book is available at your local bookstore or www.universalflag.com
BEASER THE BEAR’S ROCKY MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS
Written by Patricia Derrick
Illustrated by Doug Hoch
Bear cubs Rickity and Snickity are looking forward to all the presents that Santa will bring. But Beaser the Bear wants to teach his cubs the true meaning of the holiday, and help them grow their hearts. He tells them about giving away some of his extra gifts to others.
Rickity and Snickity decide not to wait to Christmas to grow their hearts. They search the den, and find toys and food to give away. But they have another idea: why not invite the two homeless cubs in the neighborhood to stay with them? Beaser is very proud of his cubs. The family welcomes two new members and have a holiday none of them will ever forget.
The cartoon-like illustrations will appeal to young children. They will
particularly like the drawings of the bears at dinner, eating fish and berries.
The colorful pictures add energy to the story.
This book is part of a series of interactive children’s books written by a teacher. An original sing-along CD and sheet music are included. Young children will have fun singing and dancing along to the music.
There is also a list of teacher-parent activities to complement and deepen
the learning, and science information about the bears of the Rocky Mountains.
This thoughtful book will have children looking for new ways to grow their own hearts.
For children ages 2-8.
Published by Animalations, this book is available at your local
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