“Perfect Picture Book” Friday


I’m sitting wrapped warm, fluffy woolly socks on my feet on a cool autumn evening and this beautiful book on my lap, having arrived in the post, listening to the hum of soft rain outside and my mind drifts back to 2017 like it was yesterday. I was watching the devastating news unfold on the television of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction thousands of miles away in the USA and wondered how a dear writing friend was coping and whether she had survived the devastation. You see Ellen and I had been chatting on the internet a few weeks before Hurricane Harvey avenged it’s anger on Houston,. She and her husband were soon to holiday on a cruise ship bound for New Zealand.  I was so looking forward to meeting a fellow writer all the way from the USA and I made mental notes on some places and attractions she might like to see in the short time they would be here.  I was soon to hear Ellen had lost everything and the trip of course was cancelled. As the days and weeks and months passed Ellen would keep us updated (thank-goodness for internet) and although her words were strong, calm and optimistic, I wondered how anyone could have coped in such a situation. Ellen’s own experience, and the kindness of others is brought to us through the eyes of young Charlotte in this emotionally charged story and demonstrates Ellen’s skill as a writer and story-teller for young children.

Written by:  Ellen Leventhal

Illustrated by:  Blythe Russo

Published by:   Worthy Kids Hachette Book Group USA 2021

Ages:    4 – 8 years

Theme: empathy, hope, and empowerment.

Opening Lines:   The night the river jumped its banks, everything changed.

Synopsis:   from Amazon:-  A Flood of Kindness, is a poignant picture book that addresses grief and loss and demonstrates how kindness can bring hope. Written in spare prose and told from an intimate first-person point of view, the story follows Charlotte, a young girl who watches floodwaters rise in her home and is forced to evacuate to a shelter with her parents. Kind people she doesn’t know give her food, socks and shoes to keep her feet warm, and a place to sleep. As Charlotte adjusts to the shelter—a strange, crowded place that is not home—she grapples with feelings of anger and sadness. But as the days go by, Charlotte starts to realize how grateful she is for the things that she does have—her parents, a cot to sleep on, food to eat—and starts looking for ways to help others in the shelter.

All children deal with sadness and loss in some way, whether it stems from a natural disaster, the death of a pet, or moving to a new place. A Flood of Kindness acknowledges those difficult feelings and helps readers process them in a healthy way. Children will be encouraged to be kind to those who need a friend and to help others in whatever way they can, no matter how small.

Why I like this:   Ellen’s lyrical and sparse prose grips us from the first page and the story is dotted with timely page turns and a clever refrain that keeps the reader infested. Blythe’s beautiful hue colored illustrations with expressive facial expressions of despair and the cool greys of the weather gives depth. This book is a timely reminder we all should think of the needs of others and is an excellent read aloud for children, families, and schools to help build empathy, kindness, and community. It’s about paying it forward and shows how no one is too small or too young to help out.  I recommend having a tissue or two handy when reading this beautiful story.

Resources:   Ellen Leventhal has been writing for as long as she can remember. She is the co-author of Don’t Eat the Bluebonnets, a 2017 Mighty Girls Book pick, and the author of Lola Can’t Leap. Ellen is an active member of SCBWI, as well as a member of Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge. She lives in Houston, Texas, where she can be found working as an educator, wandering the aisles of bookstores, and doing school author visits.

Ellen’s website…   https://www.ellenleventhal.com/

Blythe Russo holds a masters in illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design. When she’s not drawing, you can find her building puppets, playing Dungeons & Dragons, or in the kitchen on a never-ending quest for the perfect chocolate-chip cookie recipe. She lives just outside Cincinnati, Ohio.

Blythe’s website…   https://www.blytherussoillustration.com/

I’m always happy reviewing Picture Books that come my way and share them with you.  If you would like to see more please pop over to Susanna Leonard Hills Blog where there are hundreds of books reviewed by other like-minded authors and writers.  Thank you for popping in and I hope you return again soon.

About Diane Tulloch

Known also as the Patientdreamer I am a writer who loves to dream, and is passionate about writing stories for the young so that they may join me in the wonders of adventure in countries and cultures afar, and in special moments to remember.
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9 Responses to “Perfect Picture Book” Friday

  1. Darlene says:

    What a wonderful way to turn lemons into lemonade. Children will love this book and learn from it. Well done, Ellen. Thanks for sharing this book with us, Diane. Have a great weekend.

    • Hi Darlene, so glad you love this book. It is a heart tugging story well written by Ellen. You too have a great weekend, and congratulations on the birth of Amanda in Malta.

  2. Pamela Harrison says:

    I love Ellen’s new picture book! It touches the heart in many ways. The story is told beautifully and the illustrations are beautiful. Children and adults will love this book.

  3. I love that Ellen took her personal experience with the flood and wrote a comforting book for children. With the crazy weather in the SW and many other places, her book is very much needed. I look forward to reading her book, as I lived through a flood as a child and it is frightening. Glad she’s your friend!

    • Thank you Pat and yes I agree the weather seems to be a bit more wild these days. Very crazy indeed and this story will be such a comfort for children everywhere. I am hoping that Ellen will get to come to New Zealand one day in the future.

  4. Ellen Leventhal says:

    Oh, Diane! Thank you so much. I still wear the socks you sent and have such wonderful me or of YOUR kindness.

    • Aww thank you Ellen for your kind words. I just had to show your book off here. Haha I wondered if you still had the socks. Haha. Hopefully you will make it down our way someday in the future. Stay safe dear friend.

  5. Ellen Leventhal says:

    That’s supposed to say wonderful memories!

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