Presented as a photo album with accompanying verse, Dear Little One is intended to help children come to terms with the loss of a loved one.
Dear Little One’s 24-line poem is broken into two lines per page, with space designated for the reader to paste a photograph above each couplet. Because the pages are patterned with bold plaid and each printed frame contains the words “Place Your Photo Here,” children aren’t given the option of illustrating the pages on their own. While this isn’t a crippling flaw, artistically inclined young recipients might have appreciated the additional flexibility.
While the book is marketed as a tool to help children “better understand” the loss of a loved one, the poem does very little to explain death. Instead, it references a decision made by God: “That He had simply called my time has run out, / But one day we’ll meet again without a doubt.” In addition to making God’s choice seem painfully arbitrary, this couplet illustrates another problem plaguing the book: From dropped commas to awkward phrases, such as “an angel watching down on you” and grammatical mistakes, including “my time has ran out,” lackluster editing prevents Dear Little One from feeling polished. Additionally, though the font is large and easy to read, very young readers may have difficulty with words such as “embrace” and “glistening,” especially if they would like to read the poem on their own.
With professional editing, this book could have been a unique, thoughtful way of helping children come to terms with loss. As it stands, Dear Little One – though well intentioned — simply misses the mark.
Also available as an ebook.