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While You Are Away
     

While You Are Away

by Eileen Spinelli, Renee Graef (Illustrator)
 

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Told in the voices of three children whose parents are away serving in the US Military this picture book paints a tender and poignant portrait of life separated from a parent. In the first vignette, the boy misses his Daddy who serves on a Navy ship at sea. The boy says all the things he misses, like "baking brownies, hunting for salamanders, collecting river rocks." He wonders about what his Daddy is eating, where he is sleeping, and he sends his father a care package. The second vignette is told from a voice of a girl whose mother flies airplanes in the military. The girl wraps herself in her mother's "old green sweater" and she dances with her pillow. At night she blows kisses for her mother to catch. In the third vignette a boy misses his father who drives a jeep. He wants his father to know he is taking care of the garden and remembers what his father has told him about doing his homework and giving his mother hugs. In the last picture spread the day has come that all of the children had waited for—the day their parents return home. The illustrations are warm and soft, comforting readers and bridging the distance. This is a timely book for children whose parents are away in military deployments domestically and abroad. 2004, Hyperion Books for Children, Ages 3 to 7.
—Valerie O. Patterson
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-In first-person narrations, three children anticipate happy reunions with their parents, who are on active military duty abroad. Heavily sentimental language appears throughout, as when one little boy wonders, "Who is bringing chicken soup to my daddy when he has a cold?" and "Is he cozy and warm?" These musings go unanswered in the text, but are accompanied by glowing images of smiling parents in generally comfortable, hospitable surroundings. All three vignettes are upbeat and reassuring, and the book concludes with the safe return of all three loved ones, each from a different branch of the armed forces. Graef's gentle illustrations use texture and warm colors to create a cozy atmosphere. Tailor-made to meet the needs of a specific population, this picture book is guaranteed to find a readership.-Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Children in three families miss a parent made absent by service in the military. An African-American boy misses his father who's away on a ship. He pretends the wind will carry his words to his father. A Caucasian girl misses her mother flying through the skies. She blows kisses at night and pretends her mother can catch them. A Latino boy misses his father who's away driving a jeep. The boy takes care of the garden and remembers his father's directives. Spinelli, who reunites all three families in the last double-page spread, has done a fine job of couching comfort in short vignettes without ever approaching the saccharine or belaboring the message. Graef's colored-pencil illustrations, looking very much like her Little House drawings, are a good match, though perceptive children will notice that the one boy's "hamster" is actually a gerbil in the picture. Libraries near military bases might want to order multiples. (Picture book. 3-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781423113515
Publisher:
Hyperion Books for Children
Publication date:
01/29/2008
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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