A well-crafted story of cooperation and sharing within the context of the biblical story of Creation.

A VERY BIG PROBLEM

Using the first two chapters of Genesis as a starting point, this story reimagines the Earth’s parts and inhabitants, created by God and at odds with each other.

Written in rhythmic style, reminiscent of the Old Testament chapters with their repetitive refrains, this text reads aloud well. As Levine and Sasso’s story goes, God creates Land, Rain, Plants, Sun, Birds, Earthworms, Quadrupeds, and Children in order to fashion the “very first garden,” but each “brag[s] and boast[s] and bluster[s],” thinking they must be the most important part. Land asserts, “God should love me the most. It is only fair,” and all the others follow suit, until God states “my love is big enough for every one of you.” Then, as God intended: “There was peace. / And it was very good.” An authors’ note mentions the legend is written in “the storytelling form from rabbinic literature known as midrash.” Although it focuses on Creation, it does not retell the story of Adam and Eve but pictures contemporary diverse children, their descendants. The note goes on to suggest various ideas for use (even to introduce the story of evolution), but the focus is on the story’s moral and imaginative qualities. The text uses no gender pronouns, and the layered, richly colored illustrations occasionally evoke Eric Carle’s collages.

A well-crafted story of cooperation and sharing within the context of the biblical story of Creation. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-947888-11-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flyaway Books

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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An uplifting, rhyming picture book offering food for the soul.

A SPOONFUL OF FAITH

A mother teaches her daughter a special recipe to help feed her faith.

Layla, a young, brown-skinned girl, is ready yet nervous for her first day of school. Seeking a confidence boost, she goes in search of her mom—“’Cause mamas can help / when you need love and calm”—and finds her in the kitchen. “Hey, sweetie, sit here / Let’s make a quick meal / that’s full of good things / to help how you feel,” her mother suggests and fishes out a recipe book. The recipe for the meal includes many ingredients, but none of them are tangible. Instead, courage, “a spoonful of faith,” “dashes of kindness,” “handfuls of hope,” “pinches of prayers,” and warm hugs go into the mixing bowl. To concretize these virtues, the artwork uses a visual motif of hearts and flowers. Once the meal is ready, Layla hesitantly looks into the bowl, unsure what to make of the imaginary repast, but a word of wisdom from Mama helps her realize the true source of her emotional sustenance and strength. The illustrations, created using digital watercolor, pencil, and gouache brushes in Procreate, are soothing, with soft pastel colors. While God is mentioned, there are no references to any specific religion.

An uplifting, rhyming picture book offering food for the soul. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-301781-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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With a universal message of love and community, this book offers a beautiful representation of a too-often-overlooked...

MOMMY'S KHIMAR

From a debut author-and-illustrator team comes a glimpse into a young American Muslim girl’s family and community as she walks around in “Mommy’s khimar,” or headscarf.

The star of this sunny picture book is a young girl who finds joy in wearing her mother’s khimar, imagining it transforms her into a queen, a star, a mama bird, a superhero. At the core of the story is the love between the girl and her mother. The family appears to be African-American, with brown skin and textured hair. The girl’s braids and twists “form a bumpy crown” under the khimar, which smells of coconut oil and cocoa butter. Adults in her life delight in her appearance in the bright yellow khimar, including her Arabic teacher at the mosque, who calls it a “hijab,” and her grandmother, who visits after Sunday service and calls out “Sweet Jesus!” as she scoops her granddaughter into her arms. Her grandmother is, apparently, a Christian, but “We are a family and we love each other just the same.” The illustrations feature soft pastel colors with dynamic lines and gently patterned backgrounds that complement the story’s joyful tone. The words are often lyrical, and the story artfully includes many cultural details that will delight readers who share the cheerful protagonist’s culture and enlighten readers who don’t.

With a universal message of love and community, this book offers a beautiful representation of a too-often-overlooked cultural group . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0059-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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