BN.com Gift Guide

I'll Be There

Overview

The creators of Always offer a celebration of a growing child’s accomplishments— and a reassurance that Mom will always be there.

Children love the idea of growing up and doing things on their own. It’s fun to dress, read, and take showers like a big kid. But it’s a little scary, too. Scampering along a stone wall just out of reach, a young boy asks his mother, "Will you still take care of me when I’m big?" Ann Stott and Matt Phelan, creators of Always, have teamed up again. ...

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Overview

The creators of Always offer a celebration of a growing child’s accomplishments— and a reassurance that Mom will always be there.

Children love the idea of growing up and doing things on their own. It’s fun to dress, read, and take showers like a big kid. But it’s a little scary, too. Scampering along a stone wall just out of reach, a young boy asks his mother, "Will you still take care of me when I’m big?" Ann Stott and Matt Phelan, creators of Always, have teamed up again. This time, they offer an honest, warmhearted portrait of a child taking those first steps toward independence.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Stott and Phelan deliver a generous dose of comfort in this tender companion to Always (2008). "Did you push me in a carriage when I was a baby?" a boy asks while walking with his mother, prompting her to describe all the ways she once cared for him. But now that he doesn't need her to read him a bedtime story or pick out clothes (although his chosen outfit of a Santa hat, boxer shorts, and webbed flippers might suggest otherwise), will Mom still be there to help? Kids know the answer to that question, but they'll be glad for the confirmation anyway. Ages 3–7. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
A little boy and his mom, out for a walk reminisce about when he was a baby and all the things she had to do for him. She pushed him up high on the baby swings, fed him squished peas, gave him bubble baths and wrapped him in his favorite blanket for a cuddle. Now that he is a big boy, he tells her all that he can do by himself like tie his shoes, take showers, and sometimes he even falls asleep after her. Suddenly while walking atop a stone wall he wonders aloud, "Will you take care of me when I am big?" Mom gently reassures him that she will always be his mom and she will be there for him when he is big. Parents will enjoy sharing this warm and comforting story of the unique relationship between mother and child moving from total reliance on mom to independence. Soft pastel watercolors evoke the mood and tone of the gentle story and the deft touches of humor such as mom desperately trying to stay awake while her small charge bursts with energy will bring a smile to most mothers. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
PreS-K—A little boy goes for a walk with his mother, balancing on a stone wall beside a path, and asks her what she did for him when he was little. She enumerates some of the things—dressing, bathing, and feeding him, reading a bedtime story, etc.—and ends with the observation that now he can do these things on his own. He agrees as he proudly lists what he can do back to her. But then he stops on a thought—"Will you still take care of me when I'm big?" And, as he refuses his mother's help and jumps triumphantly off the wall by himself, she assures him, "Even when you're big, I'll be there." This is a quiet story, illuminated by beautiful pastel watercolors that sketch the special relationship between mother and son. Good as a cozy bedtime story.—Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Kirkus Reviews - Kikus Reviews

This companion book toAlways(2008) traverses familiar picture-book territory. A young boy, probably primary-school age, clambers on a stone wall while his mother follows alongside in the grass. Their conversation begins, "Did you push me in a carriage when I was a baby?" Mother flashes back to all the things she did for her son as an infant: pushing him on a swing, feeding him "squished peas" and giving him "bubble baths in the kitchen sink." She then reminds him that he is older and can now do those things on his own. The spare but often bland text is rescued by Phelan's deft use of watercolor, which injects sly humor into the boy's independent actions. From a delightfully mismatched outfit to an exuberant mess of a breakfast for mom, the red-haired tyke aims to balance his new skills and confidence with assurance that his mother will always "be there." And he does—bravely jumping from the wall without any help while watchful mom proudly looks on. The brief text coupled with quiet, warm illustrations is best suited for young preschoolers but lacks the power of the classic Guess How Much I Love YouorMama, Do You Love Me?(Picture book. 2-4)

Kirkus Reviews

This companion book toAlways(2008) traverses familiar picture-book territory. A young boy, probably primary-school age, clambers on a stone wall while his mother follows alongside in the grass. Their conversation begins, "Did you push me in a carriage when I was a baby?" Mother flashes back to all the things she did for her son as an infant: pushing him on a swing, feeding him "squished peas" and giving him "bubble baths in the kitchen sink." She then reminds him that he is older and can now do those things on his own. The spare but often bland text is rescued by Phelan's deft use of watercolor, which injects sly humor into the boy's independent actions. From a delightfully mismatched outfit to an exuberant mess of a breakfast for mom, the red-haired tyke aims to balance his new skills and confidence with assurance that his mother will always "be there." And he does—bravely jumping from the wall without any help while watchful mom proudly looks on. The brief text coupled with quiet, warm illustrations is best suited for young preschoolers but lacks the power of the classic Guess How Much I Love YouorMama, Do You Love Me?(Picture book. 2-4)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763647117
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 3/22/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,348,308
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Stott is a children’s book designer and the author of Always, illustrated by Matt Phelan. About I’ll Be There, she says, "It dawned on me one day that I hadn’t tied my son’s sneakers in months. I suddenly realized that there were many things that I no longer had to do for him. He was growing up." Ann Stott lives in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Matt Phelan is the illustrator of Always by Ann Stott. His graphic novel, The Storm in the Barn, was awarded the Scott O’Dell Award for nonfiction. About I’ll Be There, he says, "When I was a boy, I never passed up the chance to walk on a stone wall. I’m still tempted by them today." Matt Phelan lives in Philadelphia.

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