THE COLT AND THE KING

A small donkey narrates the story of his role in the first Palm Sunday procession in Jerusalem. His owner takes him to the village gate, where strangers ask for a donkey that has never been ridden. He is fearful and stubborn, but is led to a hillside, a grove of olive trees where there is a man in the midst of a crowd. The man is called Jesus and as soon as the colt sees him, he grows peaceful. He joyfully carries the man on his back with the people waving palms and throwing their cloaks on the path and the donkey knows that he is carrying a King. The donkey wishes to carry Jesus back to his hillside, where he will introduce him to his friends—the lizard, crow, cow, hen, and cricket. “My hillside will be a throne for him, and at night the stars will weave him a crown.” The lovely double-paged spreads are executed with impasto acrylic on handmade French watercolor paper. The city scenes are predominantly warm sienna colors highlighting the bricks and buildings while the country scenes are mostly rich blue-green and are a pleasant contrast to the city scenes. Endpapers are the patchwork colors of the cloaks worn by the people and thrown on the path of Jesus. A foreword cites the Gospel writers who tell the story of the Palm Sunday procession, especially Zechariah, Chapter 9, Verse 9: “See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” The palm branches and the tradition of the Palm Sunday procession are also included. A gentle story that small children and parents can enjoy together. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 15, 2002

ISBN: 0-8234-1695-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2002

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The now-classic tale’s humor still fosters eye-rolling laughter, with Wohnoutka’s illustrations as rib-tickling complement.

HANUKKAH BEAR

A well-used trope of misidentification allows a village elder to innocently open her home to a possible predator with humorous, even endearing results.

Despite her advanced age of 97 and her poor eyesight and hearing, Bubba Brayna “still [makes] the best potato latkes in the village.” When Old Bear is awakened from his winter sleep by the savory aroma of frying latkes and comes to her door, Bubba Brayna invites him in for a fresh batch, mistaking the bear’s rotund girth and bushy face for the heavy-set bearded rabbi’s. Heading straight for the kitchen, the growling bear is encouraged to play dreidel with nuts he chooses to eat, then devours all the latkes with jam like any hungry bear would. Sleepy and satisfied, he leaves with a gift of a red woolen scarf around his neck. After some investigating by the crowd that has gathered at Bubba Brayna’s door, which includes the actual rabbi, a new batch of potatoes are brought from the cellar, and with everyone’s help, Bubba Brayna hosts a happy Hanukkah. This newly illustrated version of The Chanukkah Guest, illustrated by Giora Carmi (1990), is a softer rendition, with acrylic paints and curved lines in tints of yellow, brown and green for warm, earthy atmosphere.

The now-classic tale’s humor still fosters eye-rolling laughter, with Wohnoutka’s illustrations as rib-tickling complement. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2855-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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For people familiar with Jerusalem the images are recognizable. For a clear, complete, nuanced introduction, look elsewhere.

JOURNEY THROUGH JERUSALEM

This brief picture-book tour of Jerusalem has a clear Jewish and Christian viewpoint.

Three kittens and their mama are the tour guides. They provide diversion as they guide readers past iconic sites—beginning with a lesser-known windmill near Hezekiah’s Tunnel, through the Jaffa Gate of the Old City, past the Cardo columns built by the Romans, to the Western Wall outside the Dome of the Rock, and down Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They then take a light-rail train outside the Old City to the Mahane Yehuda Market, the Knesset building, and the Shrine of the Book. Mama cat provides commentary, explaining, for example, that the Knesset is “where all the important laws are made” and that the Shrine of the Book is the “special home of the oldest Hebrew Bible ever found.” In contrast, the Dome of the Rock is described as “built on a very sacred spot,” with no mention that it is a holy place for Muslims as well as for Jews. Stock photos with images of the cats superimposed are busy and often unclear. Explanations are incomplete, and the geopolitical, architectural, and religious complexity of Jerusalem is thereby given short shrift.

For people familiar with Jerusalem the images are recognizable. For a clear, complete, nuanced introduction, look elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68115-531-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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