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Jesus pops up.

“It had been three days since Jesus died on a cross, and his friends were sad.” So Traini (The Life of Martin Luther, 2017) opens his ingenuously retold version of the first Easter. Beginning with two unnamed women clambering down a rocky hill to the graveyard, each of the seven tableaux features human figures with oversized eyes, light brown skin, and solemn or awed expressions posing in a sparsely decorated setting. The women hurry off at the behest of the angel lounging casually in a tomb bedecked with large crystals and fossil seashells to inform the “other disciples” of what’s happened. Along the way the women meet Jesus himself (“Greetings, my friends!”), who goes on to urge disciples “hiding inside a locked room” to touch his discreetly wounded hands. He later shares breakfast (“fish, of course!”) with Peter and others, then ascends from a mountaintop to heaven. Though the 3-D art and the flashes of irreverence set this sketchy rendition of the story apart from more conventional versions, the significance of the event never really comes clear…nor can it match for depth of feeling the stately likes of Jan Pienkowski’s Easter (1983). In the final scene Pentecostal flames appear over the heads of the disciples, leaving them endowed with the gift of tongues and eager to spread the “good news about Jesus!”

Skip. (Pop-up picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5064-3340-0

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Sparkhouse

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

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A sweet interplanetary message from a narrator who sounds for all the world like a younger version of the one in Markus...

Greetings from Curiosity, roving the red planet since 2012!

With a wave of its arm, Curiosity introduces itself and the barren Martian landscape (“No humans have ever been here before. Isn’t that cool?”), then, while sending a celebratory selfie back to friends on Earth, sings “Happy birthday to me”—a ditty it actually was programmed to hum, though just on the first anniversary of its landing. In his blocky painted illustrations, Ross sends the excitable rover (“Oops—I made a dust cloud! I guess I should slow down”) trundling through a Martian sunset while extolling the virtue for which it was named, then switches planetary settings to show some of Curiosity’s “billions of friends” (or a diverse crowd of them, at least) gathered in a science museum for the party. With its boxlike, six-wheeled body, single arm, and red-lensed camera on a movable stalk, the rover manages to project lots of personality. For readers who are still, well, curious, Schonfeld closes with a page of Mars and Mars rover facts, plus the news that a new rover will be on its way in the near future. With its diminutive trim, the book even recalls a birthday card.

A sweet interplanetary message from a narrator who sounds for all the world like a younger version of the one in Markus Motum’s more seriously detailed Curiosity (2018). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9122-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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From the World of Celebrations series

An enticing look at harvest rituals, foods, and festivities.

Harvest time is celebrated around the world.

When the difficult work of an agricultural society is finished, and if conditions have been good, there is plenty of food both to be stored and made into special dishes. Parades, music, and special decorations usually play important roles. In simple, rhyming couplets, DePalma describes 12 holidays in various countries, such as Chuseok, a Korean festival celebrated according to the lunar calendar (in September or October), and Homowo (“hoot at hunger” in Gã), celebrated in Ghana in August. The simple text is enhanced by extensive backmatter that offers more detailed explanations as well as a calendar showing when each holiday is observed. The richly colored digital illustrations offer detailed depictions of traditional clothing and foods. A variety of countries are highlighted, including Liberia, India (Tamil Nadu and Punjab), Poland, and Bolivia, and characters are diverse, but the illustrator’s style lends a sameness to many faces. Some people with physical disabilities are pictured. Children from various countries are gathered together at the beginning and end as if they were celebrating together. Given that many schools study festivals from all over the world throughout the year, this attractive, informative book will be useful as a starting point, though it lacks sources and maps. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An enticing look at harvest rituals, foods, and festivities. (author’s and illustrator’s notes) (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64686-6-274

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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