This story will take away, and immediately restore, readers’ belief in miracles.

NICANOR'S GATE

Anyone looking for a definition of “miracle” could look to this picture book.

The miracle Nicanor witnesses couldn’t be more straightforward. He’s hired the finest artisans to build a gate for the Temple in Jerusalem, two colossal doors made of metal. But as soon as they’re placed on a transport ship, a storm begins. It sinks one of the doors—and very nearly the ship—to the bottom of the sea. But just as the precious cargo seems to be lost, the law of gravity appears to reverse itself, and the door is suddenly floating on top of the water. It would be difficult to find a clearer example of deus ex machina. But if the plot is unsurprising (at least to people who believe in miracles), the story still manages to convey a sense of wonder. This is due largely to Massari’s illustrations. The text describes the doors: “cast from Corninthian gold, a rare mixture of copper, gold, and silver that gleamed like the sun.” The colors in her pictures are so rich that the metal really does look like gold. (The characters’ skin tones are equally rich and varied shades of brown.) The marvels also contrast beautifully with the bleakness of the story. When hope seems lost, one character responds with both faith and resignation: “We do what we can. The rest is in God’s hands.” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.75-by-20.5-inch double-page spreads viewed at 83% of actual size.)

This story will take away, and immediately restore, readers’ belief in miracles. (Picture book/religion. 4-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-7452-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Both a celebration of and an introduction to the mosque.

IN MY MOSQUE

Children welcome readers into different mosques to learn about varying activities and services that take place in them.

Though many different mosques and children are depicted, the voices call readers’ attention to the similarities among Muslim communities around the world. Yuksel highlights the community eating together; women, men, and children sharing the space and praying together; grandfathers thumbing their tasbihs; grandmothers reading the Quran; aunties giving hugs; children playing. The effect is to demonstrate that a mosque is more than just a building but rather a space where children and adults come together to pray, give, learn, and play. Joyful characters describe what happens in simple, poetic language: “In my mosque, the muezzin’s call to prayer echoes in the air. I stand shoulder to shoulder with my friends, linked like one long chain.” Aly’s bright illustrations pair well with Yuksel’s words, ending with a beautiful spread of children staring at readers, waving and extending their hands: “You are welcome in my mosque.” The variety of mosques included suggests that each has its own unique architecture, but repeating geometric patterns and shapes underscore that there are similarities too. The author’s note guides readers to her website for more information on the mosques depicted; they are not labeled, which is frustrating since the backmatter also includes a tantalizing list of famous mosques on every continent except Antarctica.

Both a celebration of and an introduction to the mosque. (glossary, sources) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-297870-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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THE STONE OF FIRE

From the Cavemice series , Vol. 1

Warp back in time for a prehistoric spinoff adventure with Geronimo Stilton’s ancestor, Geronimo Stiltonoot, in Old Mouse City.

Readers will find Geronimo Stiltonoot a familiar character, outfitted differently from descendant Stilton yet still running a newspaper and having wild adventures. In this introduction to prehistoric mouse life, someone has stolen the most powerful and important artifact housed by the Old Mouse City Mouseum: the Stone of Fire. It’s up to Stiltonoot and his fellow sleuth and friend, Hercule Poirat, to uncover not only the theft, but a dangerous plot that jeopardizes all of Old Mouse City. As stand-ins for the rest of the Stilton cast, Stiltonoot has in common with Stilton a cousin named Trap, a sister named Thea and a nephew named Benjamin. The slapstick comedy and design, busy with type changes and color, will be familiar for Stilton readers. The world is fictionalized for comedic effect, featuring funny uses for dinosaurs and cheeky references to how far back in time they are, with only the occasional sidebar that presents facts. The story takes a bit long to get started, spending a lot of time reiterating the worldbuilding information laid out before the first chapter. But once it does start, it is an adventure Stilton readers will enjoy. Geronimo Stiltonoot has the right combination of familiarity and newness to satisfy Stilton fans. (Fiction. 6-10)

 

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-44774-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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