Jewish families wanting their children to hear references to the Jewish homeland at a very young age may find something of...

3 FALAFELS IN MY PITA

A COUNTING BOOK OF ISRAEL

A very basic introduction to Israel.

It’s certainly well-meaning, but the board-book format does not serve its purpose. Yes, everything included in this book can be found in Israel, but with no context or background information to hold it together, it doesn't really work, especially for the intended audience—babies and toddlers. Several of the items are not unique to Israel. “2 friends playing paddle-ball on the beach” could as easily be found in Chicago or Alabama. Likewise, oranges grow in Florida and California. There is no glossary; it is assumed that adult readers will be able to explain where Masada, Tel Aviv, or Eilat are located—and that a child of board-book age will care. The bright, stylized illustrations do not extend the text with additional Jewish content except for a sign in Hebrew on the page about watermelons for sale at the shuk, though a stereotypical Bedouin tends four camels.

Jewish families wanting their children to hear references to the Jewish homeland at a very young age may find something of value in this offering, but few others will. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4677-3472-1

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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A sweet, colorful start for a Christian spiritual journey.

BECAUSE GOD LOVES ME

A cheery child gives thanks to God.

“When I see a rainbow / High up in the sky / I say a little prayer of thanks, / And here’s the reason why: // Because God loves me!” This board book’s focus is the comforting notion that God loves all his children, and no matter what, he will always look out for them. The text follows an ABCB rhyme scheme, breaking after every stanza to repeat the phrase “Because God loves me!” The small, light-skinned child has spiky brown hair and wears a dress; both the child and a chubby accompanying dog are appealingly illustrated with a bright, simple color palette and scratchy lines that appear to have been made with colored pencil. God is the only name given for the deity, implying a primarily Christian audience. The book’s message is clear, and its construction is sturdy, suiting this well to parents who are beginning to have conversations with their little readers regarding their beliefs.

A sweet, colorful start for a Christian spiritual journey. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58925-237-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2016

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Blandly pleasant; entirely skippable.

PRAYERS FOR LITTLE HEARTS

Precious, nursery-style animals and plants decorate the pages of five classic religious adages.

In this hodgepodge collection, Magsamen illustrates childhood prayers with her traditional faux quilting style, featuring candy-colored pastel tones, too-sentimental cartoon animals, and grinning suns, moons, and flowers. There’s a strong heart theme throughout, with a heart-shaped nose on a lamb and similarly shaped birds’ wings. It’s cute but almost entirely generic. Some of the traditional sayings, such as “God made the sun,” are re-created verbatim; others are expanded or altered, as when “I see the moon and the moon sees me” receives additional lines about kissing “nighty-night.” None of these additions adds much to the original, and most have a meter that sounds just a little off. The poems are written in thin, hand-written white letters that don’t always have enough contrast to be seen easily against the background, and the occasional colorfully highlighted and patterned words cramp the page. The simultaneously publishing ’Twas the Night Before Christmas! is purely derivative, with alterations that drastically truncate and remove all the character of the original poem. It reads aloud poorly, particularly to ears accustomed to the original. Both share a tall, narrow trim size that is somewhat unwieldy to hold with a child in the lap.

Blandly pleasant; entirely skippable. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35981-7

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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