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I Can't See, But . . . I Can Imagine (book and CD) Review by Donna Campos

Patricia Bennett Wilson
I Can't See, But . . . I Can Imagine (book and CD)
4320 SW Ben Hogan Drive
Redmond, OR 97756

I Can't See, But . . . I Can Imagine is a 61-page hardcover book with a full page of illustration on every two-page spread. The story is based on the songs written and sung by Persis Beach Bennett for her grandchildren and first recorded in 1949. Patricia Wilson wrote this children's book in an effort to keep her grandmothers gift of songwriting alive for the world to share. The CD includes a full reading of the story as well as the five original songs written so many years ago. As the songwriter was blind, this book offers an opportunity for families to discuss contributions made to our lives by all kinds of people, even those with various handicaps. The end of the CD includes the original songs without the vocals so that they may be used in a sing-along environment.

The book introduces the author and her grandmother, explains her grandmother's blindness, and then moves through five little stories told by the grandmother about her grandchildren. Each story includes a song the grandmother wrote to capture the moment with her grandchild. The audio versions are read by several different voices, and the songs are also sung by different people, including children. All of the wording and narration is rendered perfectly and without typos or reading mistakes. Two of the songs are lullabies, and three are playful, upbeat songs that truly capture different aspects of childhood. The songs could easily be adapted into skits by homeschoolers, just as the author encourages readers to do by using their imaginations.

I Can't See, But . . . I Can Imagine is so much more than a book and CD combination. It captures the love of a granddaughter and wonderful memories she will always hold regarding her grandmother. The illustrations are beautiful depictions of a family enjoying moments together, and they successfully show age progression. Full color extends to the edge of every illustrated page.

The inclusion of music-only tracks for each of the songs is excellent. I do wish the written sheet music was available for purchase as well. The names of the children are included in several of the songs, as these were personal memories and the songs were written for specific children. Fortunately, parents will have no problem inserting the names of their own children or grandchildren. You may have to explain the "toni" hair bending method from decades ago, as it is mentioned in regard to a little girl's doll. The memories brought a grin to my face, and my teenage daughter also listened to the stories and songs and was impressed with the beauty of each one.

This book is not only about imagination, but opportunity--an opportunity for every family to encourage creativity in their own children. I am absolutely thrilled with this book and am so very thankful that a loving granddaughter desired to keep the memory of her grandmother and her gift alive. This book is a tribute to a grandmother who loved her Heavenly Father and instilled that love in her grandchildren. More of her songs are available in an additional audio CD through the website

Product review by Donna Campos, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2008