From Caldecott Medalist Matthew Cordell comes a third release from Disney Hyperion in a series of children’s books about parent/child relationships. The debut entry, Wish, was a heartwarming story of two elephants wishing to have a baby. This was followed up by Dream, about two apes who dream about their future their sleeping baby will have. Hope takes a slight turn, focusing on grandparents and the relationship they have with their grandchild.
A grandpa and grandma lion share their world and their lives with a grandbaby, instilling in the young cub a good understanding of what has been and what will be. They leave the next generation with a hopeful and optimistic outlook on the good that can come from them, while also sharing the reality of the beginning and end of life.
These books by Matthew Cordell have always filled me with emotions and I would expect parents and grandparents to get misty eyed while reading them. The brilliance of these books is that while they’re fun for kids, they are inspirational for adults. They serve as a gentle reminder of the great responsibility we have to set our kids up for success and to adequately prepare them for the surprises that life will throw at them.
Because Hope features lions in the lead role, it feels somewhat connected to The Lion King. The message of the story is that life is cyclical and as one life begins, another must end. That “Circle of Life” message is one that is at the front of our minds when we lose a loved one and this book is almost priming kids for the fact that grandma and grandpa won’t be around forever.
Matthew Cordell’s illustration style is unique and charming. His thick black lines are a little wild, fitting for the animal theme of the series, and his soft watercolors are very appealing. The confetti motif continues as well, surrounding the child on every page.
Hope makes for an ideal bedtime story for a grandparent to read to a grandchild, but could also prove therapeutic for parents to read to their kids after the loss of a grandparent. It also reminds us that our departed loved ones are always with us. For kids who never got to meet their grandparent, this book can be used to remind them of the loved ones that are an important part of your family, but can’t be with you anymore.
There’s no reason why Hope couldn’t be your entry to the series, but I highly recommend collecting the trio of Wish, Dream, and Hope. These books may be aimed at children, but parents will see tremendous value in them as well, feeling even closer to their child as they cuddle together for a heartwarming bedtime story.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.