Love You Forever, written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Sheila McGraw, is a heartwarming story about the enduring nature of a mother’s love for her baby boy. When she holds her newborn son, the young woman softly sings to him:
“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.”
Throughout the story, the young boy goes through childhood and becomes a young man. The mother and child experience the terrible-twos, messy-adolescence, and the rebellious teen years together and she repeats the same song every night while the boy sleeps. Inevitably, the day comes when the mother grows old and becomes too ill to sing the song to her grown-up son. The son decides that this is a tradition he is not going to discard.
This book should be read by everybody! No matter how old you are or how “adult” you feel, you are somebody’s baby. You can never grow out of your parents love and no matter what you do, they will “…love you forever,… like you for always.” This book is perfect for a parent-child reading pair, but has been commonly given from adult to adult. I tell you now, no adult can pick up this book without crying at least once.
Reviewed by Nicole Valkos
Each Kindness, by Jaqueline Woodson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis, is the beautiful and honest story about Maya, the new girl in school. It is told from the perspective of Chloe, a girl in Maya’s class. Despite her sweet and generous personality, Chloe and her friends continually reject and make fun of Maya for her shabby clothes and the strange food she brings for lunch. One day, Maya doesn’t come to school. Their teacher gives a lesson about kindness, demonstrating that even the smallest pebble creates ripples that go out into the world. Each child drops the pebble in the water and shares a kind thing they have done. But Chloe cannot think of a single thing. She decides to start smiling back at Maya, but Maya never comes back to school. Chloe is crushed when she realizes that she can never right the wrongs against Maya.
This book is perfect for elementary school children, girls especially. Boys could benefit, too, but girls at that age are often so thoughtlessly mean. The text is simple, yet beautiful and the pictures vividly convey the emotions of the characters. This book would be the perfect way to gently remind a child of the importance of each kindness, however small.
-Reviewed by: Morgan Keel
Ten Little Caterpillars comes to life in this newly illustrated re-release of the 1967 Martin classic. The story follows ten different caterpillars as they move through nature, scaling trees and exploring vegetable gardens. Several caterpillars meet their fate in the form of hungry birds and large fish until the tenth caterpillar evolves into a beautiful butterfly.
Through unique rhymes and vivid verbs, Martin humorously shows what can happen to caterpillars in the wild, but it is Lois Ehlert’s illustrations that truly make this book. Ehlert’s illustrations are large, colorful, and original. She uses vibrant watercolor to create eye-catching images that are worthy of a close-up look. While simultaneously wanting to turn the page to see the next illustration, it is nearly impossible to look away from the images in view.
This book is a worthy addition to any children’s collection, but it would be especially useful in preschool classrooms. Teachers could use this book to teach children about nature or, more specifically, insects. Ehlert beautifully illustrates different types of caterpillars, even including a glossary with illustrations of those caterpillars as butterflies. Furthermore, different plants and insects are labeled throughout the story.
Though many will make comparisons to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Martin and Ehlert’s book is a masterpiece in its own right.
Reviewed by Elisheva Gralnik
Abe Lincoln’s Dream, Lane Smith’s latest book, is a fanciful and imaginative tale of a girl named Quincy and her encounter with Abe Lincoln’s ghost. In the first pages of the story, the reader discovers that something out of the ordinary is happening in the White House. Over the course of history, some of the presidential dogs would not enter a certain room. Then on February twelfth some said that they saw the ghost of President Lincoln. This rumor is confirmed when schoolgirl Quincy wanders from her tour and finds the ghost herself! Quincy sees that the ghost is sad and confused, so she does not feel afraid. Ghost Abe explains that his sadness stems from a dream of him sailing on rocky water that outlines uncertainty for his country. Quincy leads the Presidential ghost out of the White House for the first time to explore new developments that might set him at peace. After taking a flying tour of the country, girl and man return to the White House and the ghost disappears for good, leaving Quincy to dream of Abe Lincoln, standing on a boat, smiling and finally at peace.
This historical story is based on a dream that Abe Lincoln had the night before his death. The dogs at the beginning of the story are also based on real Presidential pups. This book would be fabulous to use in the classroom, as it connects with so many themes that children study in schools. It could be used to examine the current state of our nation’s unity and freedom, as well as integrated into a unit that involves Abe Lincoln. It could even be utilized in a President’s unit, as students could use the years stated on the beginning pages to match the dogs with their President! Students will love the creative fonts and page layouts just as much as teachers will adore the historical background and quality writing.
Not only is this book well written and historically accurate, but it is also beautifully illustrated and fun to read. The variety of page layouts and fonts make each page a completely new and different experience. Even older students will enjoy the ghost story element and the silly jokes tucked into the plotline. Although younger children may not pick up on as much of the detail and intricacy in this story, all students will be captivated by the beauty and fun that characterize this book.
Reviewed by Sally Nichols