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Friday, February 3, 2017

Elliot, written by Julie Pearson and illustrated by Manon Gauthier. Translated by Erin Woods. Pajama Press, 2016.$18.95 ages 4 and up

"When Elliot cried, his
 mother and his father did
not always understand why.

When Elliot yelled, his
mother and his father did
not always know what to do.

When Elliot misbehaved, his
mother and his father did not
always know how to react."

Not all children are born into families where their needs can be met. There are many reasons for that. Perhaps the parents are too young, too inexperienced, incapable of providing the monetary support needed to help a child grow and flourish. Whatever the reason, there are times when children must be placed in foster care to ensure their growth and well-being.

There was so much his birth parents did not know when it came to caring for Elliot. Because they asked for help, a social worker placed Elliot with a new mom and dad. His life improved with foster parents who could respond to his needs. Elliot was allowed visits with his birth parents. After a period of time, he was returned to their care. Unfortunately, his parents still struggled with providing the care and understanding that Elliot so desperately needed. So, he was placed with another family.

"In this family, everything was different.
The smells were different. The toys were different. And there was
a big bird that sang too loudly."

Elliot was happy there, but he wanted to be with his birth parents. Sadly, the social worker had to explain that his parents were incapable of caring for him, even though they loved him. A forever family would be his next move. Elliot was worried. He need not have been.

When Elliot cried, they dried his tears.
When Elliot yelled, they listened to him.
When he misbehaved, they loved him anyway."

With time and much understanding Elliot learned that, in this family, he would be loved forever. That was all he needed to know.

Honest and heartfelt, this book about foster parenting and adoption is a needed addition to any collection. Told in clear prose, with cut paper collage art done in quiet tones, it reflects the experiences of many children. I have not read another picture book dealing with the foster care system.

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