Many good things take time, but this book is short and sweet.

THE GOOD FOR NOTHING TREE

Levine and Eisenberg Sasso team up for another picture book based on the parables of Jesus, highlighting the lessons and values one can learn from observing nature.

“Once a gardener planted a fig tree,” the book begins. In this tree lies the promise of delightful shade and delicious fruit. The seasons change and the tree grows taller; but alas, it fails to come into leaf and there is no harvest to speak of. A White gardener and a group of racially diverse children keep watch. “Will the tree ever grow up?” the youngsters ask, and the gardener recommends patience. Another year goes by, but still the tree refuses to yield figs and shade. Adults begin to call the tree “good for nothing,” and even the gardener begins to wonder if they should start afresh with a new planting, but the children know the tree just needs more love and more time. As year follows year, the children lovingly and persistently tend to their beloved tree, ultimately reaping the literal fruit of their labor. Guaranteed to draw comparisons to The Giving Tree (1964), this book inverts Silverstein’s now-classic narrative by showing child protagonists giving tirelessly to an eponymous tree; however, the lesson here seems to be persistence rather than love devoid of self-interest. Though the story strays far from the biblical teaching it draws from, its themes remain scriptural and are also universal. Bowler’s illustrations invite interest with their palpable textures and impressionistic lights and shadows.

Many good things take time, but this book is short and sweet. (authors’ note, recipe) (Religious picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-947888-31-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flyaway Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

In the end too much is left unanswered, making this book pleasant but only passable

PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE

A mouse searches for and finally finds her missing Seder plate.

Pippa is an industrious house-cleaning mouse. And no wonder—Passover is starting this very evening. Dusting and sweeping finished, she turns her attention to setting the table as a pot of chicken stew bubbles away on the stovetop. But there is one very important object that is missing: the “special Seder plate.” Frantically, the mouse searches through boxes and cupboards and finally ventures into the yard. First she encounters a very large cat and asks if it has seen the plate. “No,” answers the cat and points her to a snake, who sends her to an owl, who directs her to Golda Fish, prettily swimming in the water. Success! Kirkfield’s little tale is written in rhyming couplets with much repetition of “QUIVER! QUAVER! SHIVER! SHAKE!” for emphasis with each interaction with a predator, so readers will be mightily puzzled when the formerly frightful critters join Pippa at the holiday table. Weber’s gouache, crayon, and collage illustrations are sweetly pretty. The final illustration features a Seder plate with transliterated Hebrew and an English translation of the components. Readers familiar with the holiday may find this mildly enjoyable, but others will likely want and need more information.

In the end too much is left unanswered, making this book pleasant but only passable . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4162-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more