Love, Hugs, and Hope: When Scary Things Happen

illus. by Lori Nawyn. 32p. Familius. 2013. Tr $16.95. ISBN 978-1-938301-60-5. ebook available. LC 2013935465.
PreS-Gr 4—This book was written after the Sandy Hook tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. The subtitle says it all. The approach is sincere and basic, but the intended audience is unclear. The author seems to be trying to reach children under the age of five as well as those who are school-age, but the pages are too busy with text and too simply illustrated. "When tragedy happens you have lots of feelings inside…get them out" is great advice, but many youngsters will need the word "tragedy" explained and might be confused by all the possible thoughts and feelings suggested. It is also perhaps simplistic to say that "love chases away hate" but helpful to suggest sharing one's feelings and cuddling with adults for comfort. Also, the full-color illustrations flip between cute animals and children of a variety of ages. They are well done when examined individually and out of context, but the approach becomes awkward when there's a duck saying, "i need to talk!" on one page and a little girl who could be 10 years old sitting quietly with her stuffed bear and tears on her face on the next. This title would be useful as a starting point for parents at a loss for answers to children's questions, but its limitations keep it from being a first purchase.—Susan Lissim, Dwight School, New York City

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