Stellar illustrations uplift this thankfulness prayer.


Lock pens a hymn of praise in thanksgiving for all the Lord has provided.

From the morning breeze to the harvest that feeds us, our homes to our friends, Lock lists the many things we have to be thankful for, also sprinkling in the responsibilities that come with those gifts: “We thank you for the countryside— / help us to care for plants and animals.” “May we share your riches with one another.” And she asks for further blessings of peace, safety, and joy and offers recognition of God’s presence in everything around us. The verses vary widely in terms of accessibility, lyricism, and stiltedness: “Oh, the sway of the ripening wheat!”; “With friends, with family, / you shine love within.” Paradoxically, this last is illustrated by boxing bunnies. Verses from Psalms start and end the book. Cann’s watercolor, collage, and colored pencil art is the real star, combining naturalistic flora and fauna in spot and double-page-spread illustrations representing each country/region highlighted. For Greenland, readers see a seaside community of houses connected by paths through deep snow from the viewpoint of geese flying overhead, while Japan’s illustration includes a gingko tree, a pagoda, and an arched bridge. From the first spread of a sunrise to the closing one of a tan-skinned child asleep, the illustrations subtly move through both a full day and the seasons of the year. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Stellar illustrations uplift this thankfulness prayer. (thumbnails of countries represented) (Religious picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5595-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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The true meaning of the holiday season shines here.


Kids teach a valuable lesson about community spirit.

A city block is ablaze with red and green lights for Christmas; one house glows blue and white for Hanukkah. This is where Isaac, a Jewish boy, lives, across the street from best friend Teresa, excitedly preparing for Christmas. They love lighting up their homes in holiday colors. After an antisemitic bigot smashes a window in Isaac’s house, Isaac relights the menorah the next night, knowing if his family doesn’t, it means hiding their Jewishness, which doesn’t “feel right.” Artistic Teresa supports Isaac by drawing a menorah, inscribed to her friend, and placing the picture in her window. What occurs subsequently is a remarkable demonstration of community solidarity for Isaac and his family from everyone, including the media. Galvanized into defiant action against hate, thousands of townspeople display menorahs in windows in residences and public buildings. This quiet, uplifting tale is inspired by an incident that occurred in Billings, Montana, in 1993. Readers will feel heartened at children’s power to influence others to stand up for justice and defeat vile prejudice. The colorful illustrations, rendered digitally with brushes of the artist’s devising, resemble scratch art. Isaac and Teresa are White, and there is some racial diversity among the townspeople; one child is depicted in a wheelchair. An author’s note provides information about the actual event.

The true meaning of the holiday season shines here. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64614-087-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Levine Querido

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Jesus pops up.

“It had been three days since Jesus died on a cross, and his friends were sad.” So Traini (The Life of Martin Luther, 2017) opens his ingenuously retold version of the first Easter. Beginning with two unnamed women clambering down a rocky hill to the graveyard, each of the seven tableaux features human figures with oversized eyes, light brown skin, and solemn or awed expressions posing in a sparsely decorated setting. The women hurry off at the behest of the angel lounging casually in a tomb bedecked with large crystals and fossil seashells to inform the “other disciples” of what’s happened. Along the way the women meet Jesus himself (“Greetings, my friends!”), who goes on to urge disciples “hiding inside a locked room” to touch his discreetly wounded hands. He later shares breakfast (“fish, of course!”) with Peter and others, then ascends from a mountaintop to heaven. Though the 3-D art and the flashes of irreverence set this sketchy rendition of the story apart from more conventional versions, the significance of the event never really comes clear…nor can it match for depth of feeling the stately likes of Jan Pienkowski’s Easter (1983). In the final scene Pentecostal flames appear over the heads of the disciples, leaving them endowed with the gift of tongues and eager to spread the “good news about Jesus!”

Skip. (Pop-up picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5064-3340-0

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Sparkhouse

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

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