cover image Hope Is an Open Heart

Hope Is an Open Heart

Lauren Thompson, . . Scholastic, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-545-03737-2

Similar to Charles M. Schulz's Happiness Is a Warm Puppy , this sentimental crowd-pleaser defines hope through examples, pairing these with luxuriant photographs that highlight children and places from all over the world. “Hope/ is holding tight/ to your mother's hand” accompanies a picture of a mother and child walking on a beautiful Alabama beach. “Hope is a heart/ that is open to the world around you” features a string of Sri Lankan children in school uniforms holding hands. In an afterword, Thompson (the Little Quack books) talks about the inspiring experiences captured in five of the photographs; all other photographs go unexplained. Sometimes neither text nor art successfully translates the abstract concept of hope. To exemplify “Hope is remembering that you are not alone,” the text abruptly adds a didactic digression (“Many others feel/ just the way you do./ Many others care”) while the accompanying photograph pictures two boys, backs to the camera, staring at the water from a craggy shore. Even so, the text maintains a consistent emotional appeal and the photos a National Geographic –style gorgeousness; a portion of the sales benefits Volunteers of America. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)