When You Feel Better: A Get Well Soon Gift Book is a beautiful little picture book by Misty Black. It’s designed to be given as a gift to someone sick and is filled with comforting images of serene skies, happy friendships, and promises of fun adventures at the beach and on the mountains when the sick person has recovered. The characters are two small animals, a koala who is sick in bed, and a rabbit who visits his friend and offers him this book, saying he made it just for him. The rabbit then narrates adventures to the invalid about the wonderful things that will happen “when you feel better.”
A tender and uplifting book with a gentle atmosphere to it, When You Feel Better: A Get Well Soon Gift Book is indeed a good choice for a sick child. I liked the lilting, rhymed verses that took the sick bear on all kinds of adventures that did look like a lot of fun to think about if you’re cooped up in bed—playing under the stars; flying in a balloon; camping in springtime meadows; and watching the Aurora Borealis in winter. Shimmering and attractive pictures by Marina Batrak really sealed the deal on making this book a delight. One of the main charms of a picture book is how the words and images work together to build a story and this book’s accomplishment was above average. Subtle and filled with an enchanting tone of caring, Misty Black’s book is on my list of good items for children.
Don’t Drink the Pink by B.C.R. Fegan is a children’s book about the magic of a girl’s relationship with her grandfather, beautifully illustrated by Lenny Wen. The girl, Madeline, narrates the story of how her Grandfather Gilderberry, creates little potions in his workshop. She drinks a potion on every one of her birthdays for fourteen years. Each potion is a different color and causes something magical to happen to her for that birthday. Her grandfather always admonishes her not to choose the pink one. “Don’t drink the pink!” But when her grandfather dies, it’s the only potion left. What will happen when she drinks it?
This is a high-quality book. The combination of detail in the storytelling and illustrations in Don’t Drink the Pink is really exceptional and the concepts are presented in a sophisticated way. The colored potions are cued to an activity—such as controlling the weather or super-strength—and I felt there was an intuitive suitability between each color and the power it gave Madeline. And I was delighted by the honesty of B.C.R. Fegan’s writing that used the seemingly fantastical idea that a grandfather could give you special powers on your birthday to echo a child’s feelings accurately. Relationships with older relatives are unique in a child’s life and can be truly magical. Throughout the book her grandfather is a touchstone for helping Madeline ground herself as she ages year by year and the potions she receives are in harmony with her personal development. The conclusion helps prepare children for the natural concept of a loved one’s passing as well, rounding out a great book I was delighted to read.
Zip Pop Buzz by Dave Noland is a picture book that encourages kids to get involved with musical rhythm. It’s a sweet story about communication and helping someone out and can be used in a music classroom for small children or read at home. It follows the adventures of a little girl who is visited one day by a very opinionated ladybug. This ladybug seems to be asking for something, but she can’t communicate. She has only one thing to say—“Zip Pop Buzz.” No matter what the girl does, nothing seems to work for the ladybug. What is the ladybug looking for?
Enchanting and energetic are great words to describe this book. The storytelling is bouncy and easy on the ears, and it feels like a song. It was almost impossible for me to read this book without breaking into a hum, or a bit of a tune—interrupted often, of course, by the keyword Zip Pop Buzz. These words are a cue for kids to start getting active with rhythm sticks, making their own music. Participation is the point of the story and it’s easy to achieve because the ladybug is trying to communicate and that’s the essential purpose of sounds, including rhythmic ones. She doesn’t have words, but she does have sounds that convey her feelings. Each time Zip Pop Buzz is repeated, it has a different meaning. Does the ladybug want attention? Is she mad? Does she feel happy and grateful? Zip Pop Buzz by Dave Noland is a wonderful, feel-good book that will get kid’s toes tapping.
This is the companion for Sarah Scheele's newsletter blog. In it I share reviews for books I'd recommend/are similar to my own.