Colorful unframed pictures, created in line and watercolor, juxtapose the ragged paper man on the sidewalk with Lily, her snug home, and her fun in the rain and snow. The compassionate, realistic story will involve preschoolers, who may recognize not only that the joy of stormy weather depends on having shelter but also that they can do something besides avert their eyes from someone else’s suffering.
This sensitive, gentle tale with its bright, visceral illustrations is about homelessness and one child's reaction to the reality of it.
The Globe and Mail
The book is neither saccharin nor preachy and avoids clichés, like one person can 'make a difference.'
Of course poverty and the other social ills that lead to homelessness can't be solved with one bag of clothes, but Upjohn's straightforward tale and Benoit's nicely unromantic illustrations give kids some ideas for practical action. The story's a good reminder that even in the post-holiday season, the world needs generosity and sympathy of spirit.
The sensitive text and matching illustrations blend well to create a story of making a positive difference in our world today.
The emotion and candor captured by this story are brought to life in Benoit’s soft yet bright watercolors.
Canadian Children's Book News
A thoughtful story of a child's initial encounter with the existence of poverty and homelessness.
This story is very moving. Make sure you have a box of tissues handy so that you can furtively wipe your teary eyes while reading this book to your child! A bottle of water might help too (for when you get all choked up). Now, admittedly, tears and tissues may not be something you look for in a book for young children, but this story’s message – and the way it is conveyed – is too important to miss out on...The images in this book are worth special note. Benoit’s illustrations are warm, dazzling even. The first illustration is of a pigeon being sheltered in the rain by a newspaper (foreshadowing the Paper Man’s vulnerability to the elements). Through Benoit’s illustrations, we are drawn into Lily’s enjoyment of her surroundings. She splashes in puddles with her purple rain boots, she catches snowflakes on her tongue as the wind swirls around her, and she snuggles under her quilt with her doll in her comfy-cozy room. We also see Ray from Lily’s perspective: scary at first, then distracted by the cold, then warmed by Lily’s thoughtfulness...This book, however, is not simply about giving and sharing; it is also about making a connection with the people one encounters. Lily introduces herself to the Paper Man, we learn his name (Ray), and they shake hands. You will be very proud of Lily as you read this book and – accompanying the teary eyes and lump in your throat – is the stunning image of Ray’s very broad smile and watery eyes at the end of the book.
Kidding Around Toronto-website
A gentle story about the value of compassion.
Midwest Book Review
Lily and the Paper Man is an absolutely charming winter tale that will warm your heart as the cold winds blow the October cold out and welcome the November freeze in... I would give it six stars if I could but for now I shall have to content myself with five...Hopefully it will inspire others to be just as kind and generous to those less fortunate as Lily was to the Paper Man.
Sarah's Stars website
Young readers will find much to discuss as they evaluate this thoughtful story of a small child’s initial encounter with the existence of poverty and homelessness. The realistic and detailed watercolor illustrations capture Lily’s emotional journey from fear to confusion to determined resolve to improve the life of the Paper Man, whose name, she learns, is Ray...Like Eve Bunting’s classic Fly Away Home, Lily’s story makes an excellent starting point for discussions of poverty and helping others, and the age of the main character and the gentle, brightly colored illustrations add to the appeal of this story for the very young, who, like Lily, may need adult help in voicing their concerns about injustices they notice in the world.
This tale is perfect for reminding children about helping those less fortunate than themselves.
The Chronicle Herald
I fell in love with this book not only for the message but also the exquisite illustrations... I craved having a group of children to read this book to, to show them the illustrations, see the looks on their faces, hear their thoughts about the story.
Girlistic Online Magazine