Heaven Is Having You Author: Giles Andreae Illustrator: Vanessa Cabban
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Format: Padded Board Books

Age Range: 2-5 years

Publication Date: September 2007

BISAC: JUV013030, JUV002030, JUV010000

Pages: 24

Book Format Detail: Board Book with Padded Cover

Retail Price: $7.95

ISBN-13: 978-1-58925-820-4

ISBN-10: 1-58925-820-7

Dimensions: 7-7/8" x 7-7/8"

“In reassuring couplets and gentle ink-and-wash drawings, the team behind Love is a Handful of Honey explains just how deep grandparents' love for their grandchildren can be. . . . Without a theologically conventional definition of heaven, this volume will likely have universal appeal to grandchildren and grandparents alike.” --Publishers Weekly

 Heaven on Earth is described in simple rhymes and everyday happenings in this joyful and joyfully illustrated book about bears.When Little Bear goes to visit his grandparents, Grandma Bear tells the cub, "It's heaven to see you!" Little Bear then asks, "What's heaven?" Grandma Bear goes on to describe all the heavenly things that make up their day together, telling Little Bear, "Heaven is so many things."
 
 In calm rhyming couplets, the author describes heaven as "hearing the stories you tell us / and thinking that you're ever so clever. / It's something we do that we made up ourselves, / like rubbing our noses together." 
  
 Andreae is the creator of Purple Ronnie, a popular British cartoon character. His previous books include Rumble in the Jungle and Pants, which won the U.K.'s Red House Picture Book Award and the Stockport Picture Book Award. All together, his children's books have sold more than 1.5 million copies. 
 
 The illustrator, who currently lives in England but grew up in several countries ranging from Belgium to Zaire, has been short listed for the Sheffield Children's Book Award, for The Magic Donkey Ride, written by Andreae. Here, the pictures are bright and warm, similar to Cabban's golden illustrations for Love is a Handful of Honey, an earlier collaboration of the author and illustrator.
  This book depicts a whole day that is heaven, including the bears climbing on each other, feeding the ducks, playing with friends, and snuggling in a thick towel after a bath. Little Bear sinks into an overstuffed armchair at one point, while Grandma Bear says that heaven is "having cookies with milk for an afternoon snack / and getting some crumbs on our faces. / It's having our own little secrets to keep / And going to our own special places." 
 
 At the end of the day, after the bath and the fluffy towel and the bedtime stories, Grandma Bear says: "Heaven is always around us / In so many things that we do. / But one thing is true above all, Little Bear ... / Heaven is just having you." 
 
 Children under six, especially those going to stay with their grandparents for a few days, will enjoy the fun and love that envelops Little Bear. Without getting into any specific theology or spirituality, this charming book gives a comforting, everyday description of heaven. (October)
 
Reviewer: Jodee Taylor  (November/December 2004) ForeWord Magazine 

In reassuring couplets and gentle ink-and-wash drawings, the team behind Love Is a Handful of Honey explains just how deep grandparents’ love for their grandchildren can be. “It’s heaven to see you!” exclaims Grandma Bear as she greets Little Bear. When the fellow asks her what heaven is, she replies, “It’s not all that easy to tell you,/Because heaven is so many things.” Yet she goes on to describe pleasures very much of this world: “It’s chasing you around the garden/And hearing you shriek with delight./It’s lying down while you sit on my tummy/And tickle with all of your might.” The text frames single-page images and full-bleed spreads, sometimes with creatively curvy type lines. Cabban shows Little Bear and his grandparents spending time in gentle ursine exploits on flower-sprinkled meadows, as well as the grandparents’ cozy cave with its big red armchair for eating cupcakes in and an enormous blue towel for drying off after a bubble bath. In the soft pastel glow of a summer sunset, Little Bear reunites with his parents. Without a theologically conventional definition of heaven, this volume will likely have universal appeal to grandchildren and grandparents alike. Ages 3-7

 

February 4, 2002 Publishers Weekly

HEAVEN IS HAVING YOU will delight children as they read about a young bear who is visiting his grandparents. The bears swing, explore, dance, and even bury Grandpa in the sand. The grandparents teach their young grandson about what heaven is, which includes wrapping up in a warm blanket and listening to a story. The ultimate heaven is just having a young bear for a son and grandson. 

HEAVEN IS HAVING YOU is a great book to use to teach about relationships during a social lesson. The book lends itself to many hours of reading and exploring the bears’ adventures.

 

Reviewer: Vickie Stephenson, HEART OF TEXAS LITERATURE CENTER

PreS – As Little Bear runs into Grandma Bear’s arms, she exclaims, “It’s heaven to see you!” and the little cub asks, “What’s heaven?” In gentle rhyming text she explains the concept, using as examples the many joyful activities she and Grandpa Bear have with him throughout the day and the happiness they experience. Toddlers and preschoolers will recognize the activities, such as sharing a snack, having a bubble bath, reading stories, or playing outdoors. The verse is short and simple with two lines to a page or four lines to a spread. The bright watercolor illustrations are outstanding, either covering the entire page or double page or framed so that the picture appears to be a memory of thought. The bears have expressive faces and postures and are large and bright enough for a group storytime, but this book cries out for one-on-one bedtime reading. However, some adults may question this nonreligious description of “heaven,” which is lowercased in Little Bear’s original question but capitalized twice in the text. Nevertheless, this enjoyable book celebrates the love and security found in everyday activities.

 

Reviewer: Marlene Gowron, July 2002, Orange County Library, Orlando, FL

One day, when Grandma and Little Bear are together Grandma tells little Bear that it is “heaven to see you.” Being a curious little bear he asks his Grandma what heaven is. Grandma then goes on to explain to her grandbear that heaven is all sorts of things, the kinds of things that make you happy and that you can share with others. Most of all heaven is when Grandma, Grandpa and Little Bear are together.

 

Grandma Bear tells Little Bear how heaven can be “feeding the ducks at the duck pond” or “hearing the stories you tell us.” It can even be something as simple as tickling Little Bear and hearing him laugh. 

 

The simplicity of this loving picture book is what makes it very special and the perfect treat for a grandparent to share with a grandchild. With a gently rhythmic rhyme and warm soft artwork, this would make a wonderful bedtime story.

 

February 2005, Through The Looking Glass Children's  Book Review