Pacific Book Review | Choices

Pacific Book Review

Title: Choices
Author: Vanessa Lyman Withers
Illustrator: Bradford Trent Lyman
Publisher: Osw Productions
ISBN: 978-1088088159
Pages: 34
Genre: Illustrated Children’s Book
Reviewed by: Beth Adams

Pacific Book Review


We all have choices to make; good ones get us ahead, and bad ones, well, have their unfortunate consequences.  How do children know about which decisions to make?  Simple – they need to be shown.

In Choices by author Vanessa Lyman Withers, along with artistic illustrations by Bradford Trent Lyman, readers are shown the “why” good decisions are needed to be made throughout each day.  The story follows a young boy and girl, in being told to clean up their room, to wear a helmet when riding a bike, to participate in school, to do chores around the house, and more.  Each lesson is written with a clever rhyming narrative accompanied by a cute illustration.  The pages flip with lesson after lesson, and by the end of the book it seems a foregone conclusion children will pick up on the good behavior being shown.

The best example is when the boy character is showing off on his bike, doing trick stunts, and not wearing a helmet.  As he slips up, he winds up in the branch of a tree with scrapes and bruises – he should have listened to what he was told by his parents!  As the author put it: “A bump on the head and skinned up knees / You landed upside down in one of the trees / Just look at you, oh what a mess!  Clothes all torn and your bike in distress.”

Throughout the day’s activity brings the little girl into her bed, lying down to go to sleep.  As the following excerpt from the book shows the gentleness of the poetic text: “The day is over and it is time for bed / You can finally lie down and rest your head / … To start your busy day all over again, / if you do it right you will surely win.”

I enjoyed paging this book while thinking how important it is to use the proxy of these characters to show youngsters that good decisions will be rewarded, while bad ones will lead to problems.  Choices is a creative and educational book, ideally suited for the lower single-digit-year old children’s reading, at a good age where they can learn from others’ mistakes.  As the genre of illustrated children’s book is vast, parents do have their own choices to make, and Choices is definitely a good decision to get or give a copy to families with impressionable youngsters.