Paper Planes, by Jim Helmore/Illustrated by Richard Jones, (March 2020, Peachtree Publishing), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1-68263-161-4
A warm story about friendship, Paper Planes is the story of Mia and Ben, two best friends who spend their days making paper planes and dreaming of the day when they make a plane that will fly across the lake where they live. But Ben moves away, and Mia is distraught and angry until she has a wonderful dream where the two friends fly together. When she awakens, a surprise from Ben awaits her, and the two realize that distance means nothing to true friendship. The story is touching and compassionate, showing the conflicting feelings of anger and sadness that come when a friend moves away. Illustrations and done in paint and Photoshop are soft and dreamy. It’s a story with a touch of magic and it’s a good title to have on hand for talking about friends or family who live far away.
The publisher has a free, downloadable sheet on making paper planes. You can find more templates for some familiar planes here, too.
The Snow Lion, by Jim Helmore /Illustrated by Richard Jones, (Oct. 2018, Peachtree Publishers), $17.95, ISBN: 9781682630488
Cora is a little girl in a new house. She’d like to have someone to play with, but she’s terribly shy. Luckily for her, a friendly snow lion introduces himself and invites her to play. He disappears against the white, white walls of the house, making for a fun game of hide-and-seek. The Lion manages to nudge Caro out of the house to go play in the park, where she meets a boy named Bobby; from there, Bobby introduces her to his friends. When Caro’s mom decides to invite Caro’s new friends over to paint the house, the Snow Lion smiles and tells her that it’s time for him to move on – but that she’ll always know where to find him.
The Snow Lion is a comforting tale about moving and being the new kid. Caro’s imaginary friend – we see her reading a book about lions on the title page – is there to support her while she gains the courage to make new friends. The paint and Photoshop artwork is subdued, and the Lion is a quietly supportive presence, first blending into walls, then standing out against blue, yellow, and red backgrounds as he and Caro play together. Even though the Snow Lion moves on, he’s a guiding presence by the story’s end. Gray and white endpapers feature snow lions, snowflakes, and geometric shapes.
A gentle story for kids who have recently moved, are about to move, or just need a little something to lean on.
Author Jim Helmore’s author website has free downloadables related to his other books. Illustrator Richard Jones’ webpage has more to say about The Snow Lion and his other work.