Thursday, May 31, 2018

Review: Birds of a Feather by Tom Crice and Ellen Rakatansky

A Children's Story of Love, Loss, and What Came Next
by Tom Crice
Illustrated by Ellen Rakatansky
Dove Tale Press
Picture Book / Fiction


With a gentle touch, this book explores the tough topic of the death of a loved one while offering one way to find hope and comfort.

A young boy loves spending time with his grandfather. One day, his mother tells him his Grandfather has left, but the goodbye is nothing like the boy expected. Not sure where to put his feelings and not wanting to hurt his mother, the boy suddenly finds help in an unexpected moment on the subway.

This is a sweet book which presents much warmth, love and care. It reads like a normal story, allowing the young listener/reader to get to know the boy and fall into his world and situation. The boy comes across as an average kid and the descriptions of his grandfather fit this role perfectly as he talks about moments kids would really enjoy. When the death occurs, it's done with love—never overly detailed but remains in the boy's view and glides nicely with his thoughts and concerns. It's easy for listeners/readers to connect to.

The illustrations are bright and hopeful. They dabble between the text, offering a nice break and adding just the right amount here and there. They have a very personal touch and are slight enough to never overpower the text, but still, add color and something to look forward to on every page.

This works well as a read-aloud for ages 5 and up but also as a book for readers who are fairly sure of words. While the vocabulary is simple enough for even the younger age group to understand, the length is more fitting to a chapter reading level. As a read aloud, the chapters offer a wonderful opportunity to take a pause for discussion. It's a lovely read.

And here they are. . .

The author. . .
Tom Crice is a lawyer, actuary, and writer living in Cambridge, MA. He wrote Birds of a Feather based on his warm childhood experiences with his grandfather. Tom has published multiple articles on legal topics and has received honorable mention in both the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest and the Christopher Columbus Screenplay Discovery Awards Competition. His short story, Epiphany, appeared in the Purple Thistle Collection. When not working or writing, Tom can often be found at the boxing gym or taking a math class.

The Illustrator. . .
Ellen Rakatansky lives in Cambridge, MA, where she works as a business analyst, a flutist, and an artist. Her artistic focus is on painting and home design, and Birds of a Feather is her debut book.

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