The punch line is still funny. Anna manages to keep her sneeze hidden from the wedding guests. But readers may feel they’ve...

DON'T SNEEZE AT THE WEDDING

This is two books in one, but it’s not as much of a bargain as it sounds like.

Children may feel as though they’re reading two stories at once. The first is a step-by-step guide to a Jewish wedding: Sign the ketubah, exchange rings, listen to the Seven Blessings. That book is practical, although it may seem a little dull to children who aren’t obsessed with brides or pink shoes or flower girls’ dresses. The second book is a story about Anna, a flower girl who’s dressed in pink from head to toe, including a pink wreath of flowers on her head. She’s afraid that she won’t be able to complete her wedding duties because she can’t keep from sneezing. Everyone from her parents to the florist has advice to give. They tell her to wiggle her earlobe or whisper the word “pineapple.” The second book is much more amusing than the first. “Pineapple” is always funny. The problem is that the educational book and the humor book never quite mesh. A joke doesn’t work very well when it’s got a discussion of marriage documents in the middle.

The punch line is still funny. Anna manages to keep her sneeze hidden from the wedding guests. But readers may feel they’ve had twice as much story as they really needed. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4677-0428-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2013

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Fans of such characters as Big Nate and Stink will likely enjoy the silly humor and adventures in this series opener, while...

SQUIRRELED AWAY

From the Dead Sea Squirrels series

A humorous early chapter book featuring childish adventures, biblical concepts, and Christian life.

This outing is the first in the planned Dead Sea Squirrels series by the co-creator of Veggie Tales. As readers familiar with Veggie Tales might expect, there are elements of character-building and morality, Bible verses, and depictions of Christian life throughout this chapter book for elementary school children. Michael Gomez and his best friend, Justin, spend the summer with Michael’s archaeologist father at a dig on the shores of the Dead Sea, where Michael makes a “gross”—that is to say "cool”— discovery: two salt-withered, ancient squirrel bodies. The theme of the book—the commandment to honor thy father and mother—is illustrated by Michael’s disobedience to his father and his subsequent consequences and remorse. However, there is plenty of humor to tickle young readers, and the target audience will undoubtedly laugh out loud. Séguin-Magee’s many grayscale illustrations are appealingly cartoonish and funny. They depict presumably Latinx Dr. Gomez and Michael with brown skin, while Michael’s mother and Justin both present white. The book ends with a cliffhanger that will make readers happy sequel Boy Meets Squirrels publishes simultaneously.

Fans of such characters as Big Nate and Stink will likely enjoy the silly humor and adventures in this series opener, while many of their caregivers will appreciate the character-building lessons . (Fiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4964-3498-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Tyndale House

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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A sweet Pesach indeed.

A PLACE FOR ELIJAH

Everyone is welcome at the Seder table, but will there be a seat for the Prophet Elijah?

Sarah and her family joyously prepare for Passover's first Seder. They set the table with an extra place and seat for Elijah, and the door is left open so he can come in. They begin the Seder with a special prayer for their neighbors across the street, whose shops and apartments are without power on this unseasonably cold and rainy night. Music Man Miguel, Doughnut Dan, Bagel Ben, Mrs. Faaiz the florist, and the young boy who sells magazines are all in the dark. One by one these neighbors are drawn to the light and warmth of Sarah’s home. As each one is welcomed and provided with a seat at the table and with wonderful, savory food, Sarah sets another place for Elijah. The final visitor is the young boy who is given the only remaining chair. Sarah is really worried until she asks the boy his name. “You never know how Elijah comes, only that he does.” Ruben seamlessly weaves information about Passover and its traditions into a tale of a loving family with open hearts that fully embrace the spirit of this ancient holiday. Though a bit stiff, Friar’s carefully detailed illustrations, set in blues and yellows, beautifully complement the events.

A sweet Pesach indeed. (afterword) (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4677-7841-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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