THE SHABBAT PRINCESS

The Shabbat Queen, a Talmudic metaphor for the importance of a welcoming, regal atmosphere for family and guests each week, inspires a little girl and her parents to set their table with a few special items.

Rosie wonders whether, since a Shabbat Queen exists, there can also be a Shabbat Princess? Neither her mother nor her father has ever heard of one, but they invite Rosie to be their princess for the evening. Rosie dresses up for the occasion, while her parents add crystal candlesticks and the just-polished silver goblet to the customary best dishes. Rosie’s addition of a golden sequined scarf for a challah cover completes a Shabbat table fit for royalty. Pink- and lavender-shaded scenes of a modern home setting (often flanked by a side border of flowered vines) alternate with Rosie’s imagined majestic view. A panorama of rolling meadows beyond a castle filled with lords, ladies and court jesters surrounds a tall, bejeweled Shabbat Queen wearing a flowing rose-pink gown and golden crown. Following the three blessings and the banquetlike meal, Rosie wonders aloud about the appropriateness of creating such extravagance and is assured by her parents: “When an honored guest visits our house, she deserves extra-special treatment.” Meltzer’s child-oriented tale presents a lovely way to honor the Sabbath with a bit of respectful festivity. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-6)

 

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7613-5142-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Aug. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book....

YOU ARE MY PUMPKIN

Young children won't understand the metaphors but will appreciate the sentiment made clear by the repeated, Halloween-themed declarations of love in Wan's latest board book.

Each of the seven spreads presents an endearment illustrated by an object drawn with heavy outlines and just enough detail to invoke its essential characteristics. Lest it become too maudlin, between the “sugary, sweet candy corn” and a “purr-fect, cuddly kitty” is a “wild, messy monster.” Wan manages to make each drawing expressive and distinctive while relying on just a few shapes—crescents or circles for eyes, dots or ovals accenting cheeks. Although each spread stands alone, there are quiet connections. For example, the orange of the pumpkin is repeated in the candy corn, and the purple that adorns kitty's hat and bow becomes the prominent color on the next spread, setting off the friendly white ghost nicely. The same purple is used for the spider's body on the next to last spread. Subtle, shadowed backgrounds repeat the patterns found elsewhere in the book. For example, the background of the page with the kitty includes pumpkins, hearts, and hats and bows like the ones kitty is wearing.

While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-88092-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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