Have You Seen Spud?
by Debbie Capiccioni Heidinger
Halo Publishing International

"Somewhere along the way, I guess Spud just wanted to play. He wanted to see how it would be to roam around and be free."

For this short, modest children's book, the author unquestionably drew upon not just her own imagination but that of her fifteen grandchildren to whom the book is dedicated, along with the seven children and stepchildren who brought those fifteen young readers into the world. The storybook world the author created for them, and certainly as many others as possible, is about a little boy who, for a short time, fears he has lost his best friend, who happens to be a bug. The friend's disappearance can be traced to his own natural desire to go off and explore his surroundings. However, in the process, he loses his way. After a bit of an adventure, and perhaps a small lesson or two, the story reaches a happy ending.

This book employs both a color palette and poetic scheme that are relatively simple, giving it a certain quality all its own in the crowded field of children's literature. Along with that simplicity, it is also obvious that both the author and illustrator Monique Turchan approached this book with a great deal of enthusiasm and have worked hard to please and engage their young readers. What's more, the brief, childlike quest of Spud and the young boy, Sam, should be easy for any adult reader to share with his or her little ones, allowing them to bring into play as much humor and drama, ups and downs, and consequences and messages as they need in order to make sure the book is ultimately a fruitful and positive undertaking just before bedtime.

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