Promises to dead

Overview

At the opening of this moving and ultimately hopeful story, Sarah's mother is ill. During her treatment she seems to get sicker and sicker. She's often in the hospital, and at home she needs to rest. Sarah's world is turned upside down. After a long time, her mother starts feeling better. But Sarah still has one more difficult discovery to make: Her mom can't promise that she'll never get sick again. She can make other promises, though, and those special promises are enough for now. Warm, graceful watercolors add...

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Overview

At the opening of this moving and ultimately hopeful story, Sarah's mother is ill. During her treatment she seems to get sicker and sicker. She's often in the hospital, and at home she needs to rest. Sarah's world is turned upside down. After a long time, her mother starts feeling better. But Sarah still has one more difficult discovery to make: Her mom can't promise that she'll never get sick again. She can make other promises, though, and those special promises are enough for now. Warm, graceful watercolors add a light touch to this life-affirming picture book, perfect for any child whose family is touched by serious illness.

A young girl experiences a range of emotions when her mother undergoes treatment for cancer.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A responsible and poignant approach to a sensitive subject." Publishers Weekly

"Winthrop handles a difficult situation with honesty, empathy, and small touches of humor." School Library Journal

"A sympathetic book for children in similar situations that conveys how offering support, even in small ways, can make a difference." Booklist, ALA

"Promises tackles a tough issue head-on without sentimentality and in language readily understandable by young readers." Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature - Children's Literature
With touching text and warm illustrations, this inspirational picture book describes the wide range of emotions one young girl experiences when her mother undergoes treatment for cancer. She's happy when her mother feels better, she's mad when her friend Alan loudly asks why her mother has no hair. She's sad when her mother has to stay in the hospital, she's scared to see how her mother looks during her medical treatments, and she's relieved when her mother's hair grows back. Families who are undergoing a similar situation can use this book to address their children's concerns and assuage their fears. Elizabeth Winthrop does an excellent job of finding a tender way to handle this difficult subject. Bravo! A job well done! 2000, Houghton Mifflin Company, Ages 5 to 10, $16.00. Reviewer: Debra Briatico
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 4-Sarah, a young girl whose parent is undergoing treatment for cancer, describes her day-to-day life, expressing a wide range of emotions. Her happiness that her mother is well enough to take a walk turns to fury as a classmate they meet asks why the woman doesn't have any hair. Sarah often feels angry, and longs for the time before the illness. She insists on visiting her mother at the hospital, and is then afraid to see her. Things take a turn for the better when Sarah presents her mother with her baseball cap so that she won't "look funny." As the woman's health slowly improves, Sarah tries to make her promise that she won't be sick anymore. Instead, Mom makes promises that can be kept, like stopping for ice cream and reading a favorite book, adding, "Tomorrow we can think of more." Winthrop handles a difficult situation with honesty, empathy, and small touches of humor. The first-person narration keeps the focus on Sarah, who relates events from a child's point of view. Lewin's watercolor-and-pen illustrations reflect the emotional nature of the text, while balancing the serious tone with warm colors and comfortable everyday scenes. The book ends on a hopeful note, which is nicely reflected in the smiling faces of mother and daughter.-Joy Fleishhacker, formerly at School Library Journal Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
Sarah's emotions run the gamut from fear to anger when her mother begins treatment for cancer. Nagging at her are the differences between the mother she remembers and this one, whose skin has a yellowish tinge, who is often tired, and most important, who has lost her curly dark hair. Focusing on this aspect, Sarah thinks of one good thing that might help her mother—her baseball cap. Filled with the everyday activities and reactions typical of a young child whose parent is suffering from a serious illness, Promises tackles a tough issue head-on without sentimentality and in language readily understandable by young readers. Illustrations of Sarah's mother when she has lost her hair and at the hospital when she is hooked up to an IV provide a realistic yet not overly harsh look at the life of a cancer patient. The hopeful ending highlights a philosophy of living that offers reassurance rather than a clear-cut answer to Sarah's questions about the future. (Fiction. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395822722
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

BETSY LEWIN is the well-known illustrator of Duck for President; Giggle, Giggle, Quack; and the Caldecott Honor-winning Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, all written by Doreen Cronin. She lives in New York City.

Elizabeth Winthrop is the author of over 40 books for children, from picture books to YA novels, including her Clarion titles, THE LITTLE HUMPBACKED HORSE and AS THE CROW FLIES. Her book for Holiday House, CASTLE IN THE ATTIC, received many awards. VASILISSA THE BEAUTIFUL (HarperCollins) was on the IRA Teacher's Choice and Children's Choice lists.

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