An unusual and creative interpretation of the three parables, offering the satisfying conclusion that each person (or sheep...

WHO COUNTS?

100 SHEEP, 10 COINS, AND 2 SONS

Three parables of Jesus from the Christian Bible are retold with modern-day settings and characters.

Levine (Jewish Studies/Vanderbilt) and Sasso, a rabbi, use diverse settings and a multicultural cast of characters to recount the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. “One Hundred Sheep” is set on a contemporary ranch with a bearded, white shepherd in plaid flannel shirt, jeans, and cowboy boots. He notices when just one of his flock goes missing and searches until he finds her. “Ten Coins” is the story of a brown-skinned woman with dark, curly hair who temporarily misplaces one of her silver coins, identified in the text as drachmas, although that term is not further defined. “Two Sons,” the longest story in the collection, recounts the story of a father’s relationship with his two adult sons. The father and sons have light-brown skin and dark, curly hair. Each story ends with a celebration including neighbors and friends of different ethnicities. The confident, cheery tone of the text is well-matched with appealing illustrations that effectively convey the emotions of the characters. The large trim size makes this an excellent choice for reading to a group, and no prior knowledge of the specific Bible stories is necessary for comprehension. A thoughtful authors’ note to parents and teachers offers interpretation of the three parables, discussion suggestions, and source references for the biblical texts.

An unusual and creative interpretation of the three parables, offering the satisfying conclusion that each person (or sheep or coin) matters and should be counted. (Picture book/religion. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-664-26274-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you

THE THANK YOU BOOK

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Piggie is “one lucky pig,” and she’s determined to make sure she thanks “everyone who is important to” her in this, the final Elephant & Piggie book.

Gerald is sure his friend will forget someone—“someone important”—but Piggie assures him, “It will be a THANK-O-RAMA!” Piggie proceeds to thank the Squirrels for their great ideas, Snake for playing ball, and the Pigeon “for never giving up.” Piggie thanks and thanks: “I am a thanking machine!” She thanks character after character, even the Flies (“Any time, dude!”), as Gerald continues to interject that she’ll forget “someone VERY important.” Finally Piggie runs out of thanks, and by this time Gerald is steamed. “I goofed,” Piggie says in itty-bitty type, before lavishing thanks on Gerald. But that’s not whom Piggie forgot to thank! A classic Willems tantrum later, Gerald reveals the “someone important”: “Our reader.” Of course. “We could not be ‘us’ without you,” says Gerald, earnestly looking out from the page, and Piggie chimes in, “You are the best!” As Elephant & Piggie books go, this isn’t one of the strongest, but it is a validating valediction to fans of the two characters, who have won Willems two Geisel Medals and five Honors. Yes, Gerald and Piggie have ushered countless readers into literacy, but as they rightly note, reading is a collaborative act.

Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you . (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7828-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2016

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Sweet—and savory.

THE KEEPER OF WILD WORDS

When a girl visits her grandmother, a writer and “grand friend,” she is seeking something special to share at show and tell on the first day of school.

Before Brook can explain, Mimi expresses concern that certain words describing the natural world will disappear if someone doesn’t care for and use them. (An author’s note explains the author’s motivation: She had read of the removal of 100 words about outdoor phenomena from the Oxford Junior Dictionary.) The duo sets out to search for and experience the 19 words on Mimi’s list, from “acorn” and “buttercup” to “violet” and “willow.” Kloepper’s soft illustrations feature green and brown earth tones that frame the white, matte pages; bursts of red, purple, and other spot colors enliven the scenes. Both Mimi and Brook are depicted as white. The expedition is described in vivid language, organized as free verse in single sentences or short paragraphs. Key words are printed in color in a larger display type and capital letters. Sensory details allow the protagonist to hear, see, smell, taste, and hold the wild: “ ‘Quick! Make a wish!’ said Mimi, / holding out a DANDELION, / fairy dust sitting on a stem. / ‘Blow on it and the seeds will fly. / Your tiny wishes in the air.’ ” It’s a day of wonder, with a touch of danger and a solution to Brook’s quest. The last page forms an envelope for readers’ own vocabulary collections.

Sweet—and savory. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7073-2

Page Count: 62

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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