Children's Books: Eliciting Smiles and Tears
By Elizabeth Silance Ballard
Illustrated by Louise S. Napier
Righter Publishing, 2008, $18.95
By Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery
Illustrated by Jean Cassels
Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2008, $16.99
The Tooth Book
By Edward Miller
Holiday House, 2008, $16.95
Need a cathartic book to read with a young child? Need a catharsis yourself?
Here are two books that will at minimum make your voice quaver as you read, and one that will leave you with a toothy smile.
"Kate's Fan," authored by Elizabeth Silance Ballard, is a thin book thick on emotion. Ballard's grandmother experienced the loss of a sister when she was a child, and the honest pain of that loss is beautifully portrayed in this modernized story based on the family's history.
Main characters Kate and Beth share the simple love of young sisters, enjoying a secret garden in the back-yard and the bond that sisterhood brings. When older sister Kate gets sick and can no longer play outside or attend school, Beth can't understand why the doctors don't make her well.
She especially doesn't understand when Mom and Dad come home from the hospital without Kate. When Beth finds a small paper fan that Kate left for her, she sees it as a symbol of remembrance for the bond they shared, and carries it with her as an adult.
Any child struggling with the loss of a loved one would benefit from reading "Kate's Fan." It is excellent bibliotherapy.
If Ballard's book doesn't get you through enough tissues, "Two Bobbies" will work on the heartstrings of any pet lover. This book chronicles a true story from the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe. Authors Larson and Nethery introduce a dog and cat, both of which have bobbed tails, that wander together through the aftermath of the storm.
When the abandoned, starving pets are taken into a shelter, they are separated, but only until the shelter staff realize that there's an extra-special (more tissues needed for the surprise) reason that the canine and feline shouldn't be separated.
Tired of feeling weepy?
"The Tooth Book" is one of the most cheerful children's books I've seen in a while. Filled with bright colors, smiling cartoon characters, and "I can't believe that!" trivia, this book will keep you smiling. Young readers will get the basics of tooth info and care, and will also enjoy learning about the Tooth Mouse (Spain's version of our Tooth Fairy) and the Ancient Egyptian cure for a toothache (apply a freshly dead mouse to the tooth causing the pain).
If you've ever read "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" and liked it, you'll love "The Tooth Book." At the very least, it belongs in every dentist's waiting room.
Life is full of tears and smiles. These books will help you celebrate both.
Read more of Southern Pines writer Charlene Vermeulen's reviews at www.prudereviews.blogspot.com.
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