THE ALWAYS PRAYER SHAWL

``Now I can teach you something that my grandfather taught me,'' says Adam to his grandson at the end of this generational story, ``...some things change and some things don't.'' As a boy in rural Russia, the man who's now a suburban American got eggs direct from chickens and chopped wood to keep warm, but—as Adam is doing now, in their synagogue—his grandfather told him about the Jewish people and his own family: Adam was named for his grandfather's grandfather. When Adam and his parents set out for America, his grandfather gave him the earlier Adam's prayer shawl. While Adam grows up and has a family of his own, the shawl wears thin and he replaces the fringes, then the collar, at last even the cloth. But as he explains as an old man, ``It is just like me. I have changed...But I am still Adam.'' The idea is simple yet resonant, and well supported in Lewin's watercolors, rendered in the black and white of old photos until Adam's middle age in what might be the 50's; as always, his subtle, warm characterizations steal the show, though the composition and detail in the b&w section are also especially fine. An engaging book, sure to find many uses. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1994

ISBN: 1-878093-22-3

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1993

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HE'S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS

Nelson uses the old spiritual—offered here, astonishingly, in its first singleton, illustrated edition, though it’s available in many collections—as a springboard to celebrate family togetherness. Each line of a four-verse version of the lyric captions an intimate scene of an African-American lad, three sibs (one, lighter-skinned, perhaps adopted) and two parents in various combinations, posing together in both city (San Francisco) and country settings, sharing “the moon and the stars,” “the wind and the clouds,” “the oceans and the seas,” and so on. Sandwiched between views of, more or less, the whole world, Nelson alternates finished paintings in his characteristic strong, bold style with authentically childlike crayon drawings done with his left hand—demonstrating a superb ability to evoke both grand and naïve effects. Moving, reverent, spiritual indeed. (musical arrangement to close) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 978-0-8037-2850-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

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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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