Review: Over the Hills and Far Away by Elizabeth Hammill

Over the Hills and Far Away by Elizabeth Hammill

Over the Hills and Far Away: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes by Elizabeth Hammill and various illustrators (InfoSoup)

Nursery rhyme treasuries have to be something special to gain attention and this one certainly is. In this treasury, nursery rhymes from around the world nestle together into one full and playful view of the world and children. There are rhymes from England and the United States, and then there are wonderful additions from Africa, China, South America, France and other areas. Adding to the variety are the illustrations from some of the greatest children’s book illustrators working today, including popular favorites like Lucy Cousins, Shirley Hughes, Jon Klassen, Jerry Pinkney and Shaun Tan.

Opening this book invites the youngest readers into a journey of the imagination and the joy of rhymes from around the world. Anchored by familiar favorites for western readers, the book branches merrily out into less familiar rhymes. Rhymes carefully chosen to become new favorites and ones that reflect the places and regions they come from clearly.

The illustrations are gorgeous and varied. It makes each turn of the page thrilling and filled with wonder. Each one is unique and marvelous, a great example of that master illustrator’s work.

Add this nursery rhyme treasury to your library collection to add an important amount of diversity to your shelves. Appropriate for ages 1-4.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Peace Is an Offering by Annette LeBox

Peace Is an Offering by Annette LeBox

Peace Is an Offering by Annette LeBox, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin (InfoSoup)

This picture book explores the concept of peace. It begins with simple examples, ones that are found every day like trips to the beach or giving someone a muffin. Peace is also mentioned as being gratitude for simple things in life and the book goes on to elaborate those with kisses, walks and food. The book transitions into questions about support and peace, asking about staying together, drying tears and listening to stories. It then moves to places you can find peace, whether that is with family or even in the wake of a tragedy or a loss. It finishes with a few ideas of how children can create peace themselves, by doing things like walking away from a fight or comforting a friend.

LeBox does so much more than a list of peaceful ideas here. Instead she moves from one stage to the next, showing not only what peace is but how it can be created and strengthened. Readers will appreciate the focus on small and everyday things that either are peaceful or bring peace. Because of that focus, children will not only understand peace as a larger concept from this book but feel empowered to create it themselves.

Graegin’s pencil, watercolor and digital illustrations have children and families from various backgrounds mixed together. Readers can follow the boy with the cast on his arm from the very first page through the book. While he may not appear on all of the pages, he creates a feel of a larger story happening as peace is explored.

A strong and interesting look at peace and the way its created, this book is both inspiring and peaceful. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Dial Books.