Saturday, November 10, 2007

Let Me Hold You Longer

Everyone knows how fast children grow up. Seems like they’re born one day and go off on their own the next. As parents, especially new parents, we tend to record the “first” events of our children’s lives: their first smile, their first step, their first word. But how many of us will recognize the last time they ask us to hold their hand, or the last time they want to be picked up, or the last time they ask for a bedtime story?

Let Me Hold You Longer, written by Karen Kingsbury and illustrated by Mary Collier, chronicles the everyday events in a child’s life as the parent watches and wonders: will this be the last time my child does this activity? The narrative begins with the birth of a new baby and ends when the child leaves home.

The text is written in rhyme. Here’s a sample:

The last time that you catch a frog
in the old backyard pond.
The last time that you run barefoot
across our fresh-cut lawn.
Silly, scattered images
will represent your past.
I keep on taking pictures,
never quite sure of your lasts. . . .

Children will enjoy the illustrations as they capture, in a lighthearted manner, everyday family life: a baby crawling to his mother; a child bringing his mother a flower with a broken stem; two kids and a dog having a pillow fight.

What I Like: I like the topic of the book. It provides a poignant reminder of how quickly children grow up and how we should cherish each moment, as it might be the “last.”

What I Dislike: I’m not a big fan of rhyming picture books, especially long ones. This book is rather long, with 29 pages, and the rhyme drags a bit in places. Other than that, it’s a great book.

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: The publisher doesn’t give a suggested age, but children 4-8 would enjoy the illustrations and the text. Parents should enjoy this book as much as the children do, as it really does lend a new perspective to the way we think about watching our children grow up.

Publisher Info: Tyndale Kids, 2004; ISBN: 1414300557; Hardcover: $14.99.

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