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|Here and now|
Author: Denos, Julia
Illustrations and easy-to-read text celebrate mindfulness and the connectedness of everything on Earth.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (06/15/19)
School Library Journal (09/01/19)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (00/09/19)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 09/01/2019 K-Gr 3—This book opens with the statement, "Right here, right now, you are reading this book." Each following page zooms out to reveal where on Earth the reader might be. Next it explores what is beneath the surface of the Earth—grass, dirt, earthworms, and even fossils—and how the planet is spinning in the middle of space. All the while, events are concurrently happening. For instance, rain is falling in the belly of a cloud, a telephone may be ringing, grass is pushing up through cement, and a friend you have not met yet is sitting down to dinner. An author's note explains that the idea for this text was inspired by meditation practice re-created for a storytime audience here as real-time meditation. As such, the purpose of the text is to enlighten children to notice much unfolding beneath, around, and outside of them, along with events yet to happen in the future someday. Using simple language to emphasize an otherwise complex topic, children are shown how to open their senses wide by noting that there are things going on whether they see them happening or not. Child-friendly examples include muscles growing despite the inability to feel them doing so, and broken bones and cuts inconspicuously healing over time. This is no easy concept for young children to grasp, as reality for most (as the title asserts) is the "here and now." Goodale's soft, gentle illustrations are as subtle as the abstract message, encouraging a focus better suited for more mature children. The subtle, often reflective illustrations reinforce the message. Though some children may overlook the smaller details on the page, or not know what a fossil is, there is a great deal to ponder. VERDICT A unique glimpse of what can be appreciated separate from what we see in front of us, and a topic worthy of a follow-up lesson.—Etta Anton, Yeshiva of Central Queens, NY - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 10/15/2019 This book is a meditative poem about being and becoming. The illustrations are striking, with bold and muted colors painted with ink and watercolor as well as textures created by monoprinting and digital collage. A strength of this book is the diversity of the people depicted—a variety of ages, abilities, body shapes, and skin tones are included. The simple lines that draw attention to everyday phenomena, such as rain forming in the belly of a cloud and grass pushing up through cement, could serve as inspiration for a poetry writing unit. Some elements may distract from the flow of reading, such as the meta-ness of the book itself being featured and read in the story, the outlines of bodies in dreamlike landscapes, and the somewhat random subject changes in what the narrator is noticing. That aside, the story has a quiet tone appropriate for bedtime reading or perhaps a storytime about mindfulness, and it would be a beautiful addition to large picture book collections. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.