Every reader, sentimental or not, can enjoy the many holiday recipes at the end of the book.

READ REVIEW

RABBI BENJAMIN'S BUTTONS

This story will feel familiar to many readers, and some of them will find that oddly disconcerting.

There’s a famous Jewish folk tale: A man’s coat is wearing out, so he tailors it into a vest and, as it gets even older, into a button. When that button finally wears out, he’s left with only the story. McGinty’s book reads like that folk tale turned inside out. A rabbi’s congregation buys him a vest with beautiful silver buttons. Over the course of a year, the vest becomes more and more timeworn, and as the rabbi eats delicious holiday meals, the buttons pop off, first one at a time and then two at once. But there’s a surprise: The congregation has collected the buttons and sewn them onto a brand-new vest, even more beautiful than the old one. The inverted story is charming, if a little slight, but it may seem familiar for another reason. The use of language is often trite and sometimes mawkish. The expression “A happy congregation is the sunshine of my heart” appears with variations throughout the book. The book’s less sentimental readers may find they prefer the earlier folk tale. But Reinhardt’s watercolor-and-ink drawings are strange and captivating. The rabbi’s beard seems to point in two directions at once.

Every reader, sentimental or not, can enjoy the many holiday recipes at the end of the book. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58089-432-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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ALWAYS MORE LOVE

An interactive book works to get its titular message across to readers.

The narrator, an anthropomorphic cartoon heart with big eyes and stick arms and legs, is nothing if not exuberant in its attempts, clumsy and cloying as they may be. “I love you so much, / but there’s more in my heart. / How is that possible? / Well, where do I start? // Now move in close, and you will see / just how much you mean to me. // My love is huge—below, above. / As you can tell, there’s always more love!” The page following the instruction to move in shows a close-up of the top of the heart and its eyes, one stick arm pointing skyward, though despite the admonition “you can tell,” readers will glean nothing about love from this picture. À la Hervé Tullet, the book prompts readers to act, but the instructions can sometimes be confusing (see above) and are largely irrelevant to the following spread, supposedly triggered by the suggested actions. The heart, suddenly supplied with a painter’s palette and a beret and surrounded by blobs of color, instructs readers to “Shake the book to see what I can be.” The page turn reveals hearts of all different colors, one rainbow-striped, and then different shapes. Most troublingly, the heart, who is clearly meant to be a stand-in for loved ones, states, “I’m always here for you,” which for too many children is heartbreakingly not true.

Skip. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-1376-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Not the most eggceptional tale on the Easter story shelf but still a fun-enough outing for fans of Turkey’s holiday-themed...

TURKEY'S EGGCELLENT EASTER

From the Turkey Trouble series

The fourth entry in the Turkey Trouble series finds Turkey and his animal friends attending a children’s Easter egg hunt at a park next to Turkey’s farm.

Turkey and his pals want to win an “eggstraspecial” prize at the egg hunt, but the event is only for children—not animals. So the group of animal friends decides to attend the egg hunt in disguise and treat their adventure as a “secret mission.” Their disguises include dark glasses and costumes suggesting a rabbit, a bee, and a bunch of daffodils, but each attempt to participate in the egg hunt is rebuffed by the human attendees. The animals work together to create a large, egg-shaped costume for Turkey from a wicker basket, and Turkey and the boy who finds him in egg mode both win special prizes. Turkey shares his prize of a huge, jelly-bean–topped pizza with all his animal buddies. The mildly humorous story has funny animal characters, inventive action, and lots of puns incorporating “egg” into other words. Cartoon-style watercolor-and-pencil illustrations add to the humor with amusing animal expressions and the ongoing series theme of silly costumes. Several of the children at the egg hunt are children of color; the other human characters present white.

Not the most eggceptional tale on the Easter story shelf but still a fun-enough outing for fans of Turkey’s holiday-themed series. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4037-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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