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What Could Be Better Than This? Hardcover – August 17, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; X-Library - 1st edition (August 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525469540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525469544
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.4 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,004,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2—Blending fairy-tale elements with fanciful artwork, this picture book expresses a mother and father's love for their child. Speaking directly to the featured youngster, they explain that, despite the excitement of their former lives—Papa was a dragon-chasing king and Mama was a daring sea rover—they both yearned for something more. Even after they fell in love, married, and pursued adventure side by side, they still felt a lack, asking one another, "What more could we possibly need?" Leaving behind their castle and riches, they make a new life in a forest cottage, where they welcome their baby and watch him grow. The boy shows them simple wonders—"A smooth-polished pebble, a fiery leaf"—and teaches them to slow down and appreciate the world's magic. Now content, they tuck him in each night and declare, "Nothing is better than this." Painted in rich hues, the romanticized illustrations echo the once-upon-a-time tone of the rhyming tale. Flowing brushstrokes and graceful lines add to the dreamlike quality. The text and some of the paintings are framed with gold borders, a delicate filigree at the beginning and plain bold lines at the end, reflecting the characters' change in focus. While not a first purchase, this whimsical tale makes a satisfying bedtime read.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Linda Ashman is the author of more than a dozen picture books. She lives in Denver, Colorado.

Linda S. Wingerter is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and the illustrator of several children’s books. She lives in West Haven, Connecticut.


More About the Author

Linda Ashman's children's books have been named to the "best of the year" lists of the New York Times, Parenting Magazine, Child Magazine, New York Public Library, the Bank Street College of Education, the IRA/CBC and more. She lives in Chapel Hill, NC with her husband, son, and their two dogs.

For more information about Linda's books, including "The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books," visit www.howtowritepicturebooks.com or www.lindaashman.com.

Photo credit: Amy Stern Photography, Chapel Hill, NC

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 7 customer reviews
The child who sees him or herself in the story is sure to feel loved.
Becki
She is not a quiet princess but she is roaming the seas as a pirate when she meets the love of her life.
wildcrafted
The illustrations are lovely and beautifully capture the excitement of the text.
Lucy Devereaux

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I love this book because it simultaneously shows a child that their parents had exciting and full lives before the child came along, and that the child is so very, very loved and wanted. The illustrations and text are lovely, and with the mother-to-be racing after pirates and rescuing the father-to-be prince, it gives a wonderful sense of equality and partnership between parents.

I have given this to several of my dearest loved ones, who had full and busy lives doing amazing and worthwhile things-- slaying the dragons and making the conquests of today through anti war protests, environmental advocacy, social work, librarianship, overcoming the hurts and dysfunctions every family seems to have, creating brilliant social and literary lives -- or who have full and rewarding gaming lives, slaying menacing creatures and going on quests in World of Warcraft.

I reckon it's perfect for parents to share with little ones about one year old to five years old.

Every parent is a hero to his or her child. I remember trying to get my mind around the idea of my mother and father when they were young, as the revolution of the fifties and sixties was going on all around them-- my mother seeing the Beatles as a teen, my father shipping off to Viet Nam, and then later navigating the waters of marriage, the social revolutions that continued in the seventies, creating a home, a roof over our heads, a safe and thinking childhood for their children. I remember taking every little thing I learned about each of them so very seriously as a small child, and now that I'm older and have some perspective on that time, for my family and for our society, it's even more interesting and precious to me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Becki on June 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the most beautifully illustrated and written children's books I have ever seen. Both of the parents are depicted as strong and intelligent and as equal partners. The child who sees him or herself in the story is sure to feel loved. After stumbling across "What Could Be Better Than This" while buying books for my grandchildren, I now purchase a copy for every new baby who enters my life. It's a perfect baby shower or welcome baby gift.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By wildcrafted on January 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I stumbled upon this book at a discount basement store and still to this day I can't understand what it was doing there.

This story tells the simple tale of a man and woman falling in love, having a child and appreciating the simple important things in life. They are willing to give up their fancy castle life for a quiet life in a cottage filled with love and happiness and lots of imagination.

One thing I love about this book is that the mother is a strong female character. She is not a quiet princess but she is roaming the seas as a pirate when she meets the love of her life.

The story is written from the perspective of the parents talking to their little son and explaining how lucky and happy they are to have him. In only a few pages the author is able to portray the way that a child can bring magic into someone's life.

The illustrations are soft and beautiful with lovely greens and blues. The rhyme and rhythm are perfect-which I am unable to say about most rhyming storybooks. This is by far one of my favorites.

Bravo to Linda Ashman and Linda Wingerter!
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Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful story! The talented and prolific Linda Ashman has created yet another family favorite: an imaginative and beautifully-written testimonial to the biggest adventure of all - parenthood. The illustrations are lovely and beautifully capture the excitement of the text. My son has enjoyed seeing himself through this book, as someone whose life and growth are such a joy to his parents that no experience "...could be better than this!"
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