Is It Over? by Sandy Brehl, illustrated by Rebecca S. Hirsch. Pen It! Publications, LLC, USA, 2021.
Is It Over by Sandy Brehl is a quiet little gem of a book. “Clouds tower! Waves crash!” A storm is coming up and a little girl runs to daddy, “Make it stop!” Daddy responds, “I wish I could.” What the reader will notice is that Daddy is missing a leg. The storm goes on, gets louder and one blast of thunder shows both parent and child frightened. The little girl realizes her daddy is scared too. He tells her when he was little, he liked storms because he would look at the clouds and imagine all sorts of things in their shapes. “Skies were stages for my imagination.” Here we see a collection of clouds looking like members of a marching band. She asks him to tell her a story. He replies that his stories won’t help because they changed when he was a soldier. Here, his feelings are depicted by angry looking, beast-like clouds.
This sensitive portrayal of a frightened child and a father with his own fears depicts how a child overcomes her fears by comforting her father. When the storm is finally over, she says, “Already?”
I love so-called “quiet” books and I believe they don’t get enough attention. Editors tell us action has to be on the first page, and there is here, but that is not the most important aspect of this book. Is It Over ? explores important feelings–emotions of both the parent and the child. Children can understand more than we give them credit for and especially now, we need good books where complicated feelings are shown, so the adult reading can have a discussion with the child who is listening.
I haven’t posted here since July as my back has been acting up all summer and I can only sit at my computer for thirty minutes a day. I’m hoping to catch up on my book reviews, but it will be a slow process. Stay tuned!