Roots the Bible in the four elements; the sparse text and overly simplistic ending disappoint, but the images save the day.

THE STORY OF US

The biblical story, from Creation through the Resurrection and beyond, summarized.

Focusing on the four elements, aka Them, Perkins begins with Creation: “One day, Creator came— / to sort the mess, / using Them to make Us. / Air. / Water. / Earth. / Fire.” Several spreads of the first man and woman enjoying the Garden of Eden and its flora and fauna follow. But then, “We said, ‘No, Creator,’ ” after which They also rose up against the couple: “Tornado. / Flood. / Earthquake. / Inferno.” Thus begins a war between nature and humans…until Redeemer comes, “using Them to serve Us.” The next spreads show Jesus’ ministry, using dirt to heal a blind man, water to wash feet, air to draw a last breath on the cross, and fire to cook fish for his friends after his resurrection. A final page, requiring a 90-degree turn of the book, shows an idyllic scene of people of various races and ages enjoying a park: “At peace— / Them and Us,” a rather misleading statement amid today’s natural disasters, climate change, and pollution that many children will recognize as patently facile and false. The illustrations by the Howdeshells, a married couple, are beautiful and full of meaning that partially fills in the vital missing pieces that Perkins’ spares verse leaves out. Still, those without a solid religious background will be lost. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roots the Bible in the four elements; the sparse text and overly simplistic ending disappoint, but the images save the day. (Religious picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5064-8284-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beaming Books

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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Go adventuring with a better guide.

50 ADVENTURES IN THE 50 STATES

From the The 50 States series

Find something to do in every state in the U.S.A.!

This guide highlights a location of interest within each of the states, therefore excluding Washington, D.C., and the territories. Trivia about each location is scattered across crisply rendered landscapes that background each state’s double-page spread while diminutive, diverse characters populate the scenes. Befitting the title, one “adventure” is presented per state, such as shrimping in Louisiana’s bayous, snowshoeing in Connecticut, or celebrating the Fourth of July in Boston. While some are stereotypical gimmes (surfing in California), others have the virtue of novelty, at least for this audience, such as viewing the sandhill crane migration in Nebraska. Within this thematic unity, some details go astray, and readers may find themselves searching in vain for animals mentioned. The trivia is plentiful but may be misleading, vague, or incorrect. Information about the Native American peoples of the area is often included, but its brevity—especially regarding sacred locations—means readers are floundering without sufficient context. The same is true for many of the facts that relate directly to expansion and colonialism, such as the unexplained near extinction of bison. Describing the genealogical oral history of South Carolina’s Gullah community as “spin[ning] tales” is equally brusque and offensive. The book tries to do a lot, but it is more style than substance, which may leave readers bored, confused, slightly annoyed—or all three. (This book was reviewed digitally with 12.2-by-20.2-inch double-page spreads viewed at 80% of actual size.)

Go adventuring with a better guide. (tips on local adventuring, index) (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-5445-9

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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A well-intentioned book that does not successfully grapple with the complexity and challenge of its subject matter.

COURAGEOUS WORLD CHANGERS

50 TRUE STORIES OF DARING WOMEN OF GOD

Redmond introduces readers to Christian women from all over the world who made an impact on society.

Well-known political activists, athletes, missionaries, and many more are included along with various other strong and brave women who are less known, such as Ni Kwei-Tseng Soong and Christine Caine. Each of these 50 women has a dedicated spread, with a full-page illustration on recto and text on verso that provides readers with a brief history of her childhood. With this background, readers can understand how each woman has come to be celebrated. In each minibiography, the subject is quoted testifying to God’s presence and influence in her life. While a book dedicated to empowered Christian women is enlightening to read, it portrays all of these women uncomplicatedly as heroes. The view of missionary work it presents is outdated and biased, betraying a fundamental lack of cultural respect and appreciation, a point inadvertently driven home in the profile of Narcissa Whitman, a white woman who, as she wrote, worked for the “salvation” of “benighted [American] Indians.” Probably unsurprisingly, the entry on Pocahontas (depicted in a skimpy buckskin dress) does not acknowledge the traditional Powhatan counternarrative that she was kidnapped and raped rather than voluntarily converting to Christianity.

A well-intentioned book that does not successfully grapple with the complexity and challenge of its subject matter. (Collective biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7369-7734-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Harvest House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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