Blink and Glow

Children - Picture Book
32 Pages
Reviewed on 05/17/2024
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Raven is an award-winning writer, and for several decades, she has been writing for children's magazines, including Highlights for Children, Story Monsters Ink, and the Cricket publications. Before e-cards, she even wrote verse for greeting card companies.

Raven's inspiration for the story came from her own childhood experience of catching fireflies and salamanders, just as Lilly and Leo did.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Blink and Glow is a children's picture book by Raven Howell featuring colorful artwork by Ann Pilicer. Leo and Lilly are playing in the backyard of their home when they see fireflies and start chasing them. Suddenly, Leo catches a blinking firefly in his glass jar, and he is excited to take it to his class for the show-and-tell tomorrow. Lilly wants to impress her friends in school too. She jumps but fails to catch a firefly until, at the pond, Lilly grabs a salamander squirming by the rock. But as the kids watch their jars, they see the salamander and firefly begin to dim over time. Finally, their grandmother shows them a glowing Luna moth and explains that the moth, the salamander, and the firefly need to be free to be happy and shine the brightest.

Blink and Glow is a fun-filled picture book with a gentle message about environment and wildlife conservation. In a few pages, author Raven Howell has built an immensely imaginative world filled with a vibrant ecosystem, and you can't help but immerse yourself in this wondrous setting. Young readers will relate to the characters of Leo and Lilly. The siblings display a curious and playful spirit that comes naturally to kids, and their adorable personalities are sure to win your heart. Grandma is someone everyone should look up to. Howell's storytelling is made even more enjoyable with the illustrations by Ann Pilicer, who does a brilliant job of capturing the facial expressions of the characters, as well as the lovely setting. Readers below the age of ten will love this book!

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

Blink and Glow is a children's picture book by Raven Howell. Leo and Lilly explore their grandmother's yard and find fireflies. Leo has luck catching one, but they evade Lilly. At the pond, Lilly finds a salamander that emits a light and she places it in a jar. As the children admire their finds, they discuss how happy they'll be to share these with their class. But the lights from the firefly and salamander fade. When they tell their grandmother, she relates another point of view, making the children question their decision to keep the reptile and the insect. The children construct a firefly and a salamander from craft sticks with their grandmother, and the author includes instructions about making a firefly sun catcher at the end of the story.

Raven Howell's story wraps fun, innocence, science, and empathy into one story. Leo and Lilly are fascinated by bioluminescence, and it's beautiful to see their excitement over the glowing creatures they view at dusk. They hope to share the firefly and salamander with their classmates, but they can tell something is wrong when the creatures start to lose their luminescence. Their grandmother encourages them to change their perspective by showing the children beautiful glowing moths as they fly free. I read this book to my children and we tried out the craft project. The activity was easy and fun, and we already had all the supplies in our art room. Ann Pilicer's lovely illustrations will capture children's attention, and she did a wonderful job of creating the bioluminescent effects in Blink and Glow.

Kayleigh Perumal

Blink and Glow by Raven Howell is a heartwarming children’s book about learning to respect the natural world. Young Lilly and Leo are ecstatic when they catch a luminescent firefly and a squirming salamander in glass jars for show-and-tell at school. Proud of their efforts, they quickly show their grandmother their new conquests. However, she does not respond in the way that they expect. She calmly takes them back to the garden and uses the majestic Luna moth to explain why the firefly and the salamander need “to be free to live happily.” Only then do the children understand that although catching the creatures was fun, it may be best to release them. Leo and Lilly then craft salamanders from tissue paper and pipe cleaners with their grandmother for show-and-tell at school instead.

Illustrated beautifully by Ann Pilicer, Blink and Glow reminds young readers that being curious about nature is natural. However, the book also cautions them to be responsible and respect it. Children are shown that they can appreciate nature without interfering with it. Raven Howell highlights why removing creatures from their natural environment can be harmful, even if it only seems like innocent fun. Both the salamander’s and the firefly’s “light” dim once they are in glass jars, poetically signifying that their beauty is attached to their freedom. I loved the inclusion of the Make Your Own Firefly Suncatcher section at the end of the book, as it enables readers to interact with and participate in the story on a deeper level. I highly recommend this educational and insightful book.