Many Christian families will want to make room on the shelves for this big book.

THE BIG BOOK OF BIBLE QUESTIONS

Powell, a veteran of adult apologetics, teams up with Christian children’s author Parker (Night Night, Zoo, illustrated by Virginia Allyn, 2019, etc.) for this colorful compendium of Bible questions.>

Starting with basic theology presented in accessible language and engaging illustrations, the authors progress through the Old and New Testaments, answering questions that follow along with the traditional Christian ordering of the books of the Bible. Though more-difficult passages and characters from the source text are glossed over, the authors do an admirable job of presenting Bible stories and doctrinal teaching in a way that is kid-friendly and leaves room for questions the text does not have a firm answer for. Because of this deft flexibility while remaining true to the canon, this book will have broad appeal in a variety of homes and for those curious to learn about core concepts of Christian theology. The pitying attitude expressed toward adherents of non-Christian beliefs, set opposite photographs of an Indian bharatanatyam dancer, a Buddhist monk, a woman in niqab, a child in a kippah, and a professorial-looking white man (a representative atheist?), among others, makes plain its evangelical roots, however. While Tempest’s illustrations depict diverse believers, most artwork featured is from Western traditions, and several Bible characters appear white rather than Middle Eastern even though the text explicitly points out these origins of the Bible stories. There is no backmatter.

Many Christian families will want to make room on the shelves for this big book. (Religion. 7-12)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4964-3524-8

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Tyndale House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An empowering choice.

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT ELECTIONS

Shamir and Faulkner take readers on a trip through various moments in U.S. history as they explore the democratic process.

The text begins in 1884, when a young man rides for hours to deliver his local ballot box in the state of Nebraska. The book then jumps in nonlinear fashion from key moment to key moment, explaining its importance: Native Americans were granted citizenship in 1924 (their status as members of sovereign nations goes unmentioned); the emergency number 911 was created in 1968; George Washington was the only presidential candidate ever to run unopposed. The information is divided into general paragraphs that begin with a question and text boxes that supply trivia and provide additional context to the paragraphs. Children’s and teens’ roles are often cited, such as their participation in the civil rights movement and the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18. The information ranges from national elections to local, expanding on what can be done on a national level and what can occur locally. Along the way, Faulkner includes a diverse mixture of citizens. A range of ethnic groups, minorities, and people of various body sizes and abilities are included, making the book visually welcoming to all readers. An early image depicting a blind woman with both guide dog and cane appears to be the only visual misstep. The backmatter includes a timeline and sources for additional reading.

An empowering choice. (Informational picture book. 7-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-3807-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care.

OIL

In 1977, the oil carrier Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into a formerly pristine Alaskan ocean inlet, killing millions of birds, animals, and fish. Despite a cleanup, crude oil is still there.

The Winters foretold the destructive powers of the atomic bomb allusively in The Secret Project (2017), leaving the actuality to the backmatter. They make no such accommodations to young audiences in this disturbing book. From the dark front cover, on which oily blobs conceal a seabird, to the rescuer’s sad face on the back, the mother-son team emphasizes the disaster. A relatively easy-to-read and poetically heightened text introduces the situation. Oil is pumped from the Earth “all day long, all night long, / day after day, year after year” in “what had been unspoiled land, home to Native people // and thousands of caribou.” The scale of extraction is huge: There’s “a giant pipeline” leading to “enormous ships.” Then, crash. Rivers of oil gush out over three full-bleed wordless pages. Subsequent scenes show rocks, seabirds, and sea otters covered with oil. Finally, 30 years later, animals have returned to a cheerful scene. “But if you lift a rock… // oil / seeps / up.” For an adult reader, this is heartbreaking. How much more difficult might this be for an animal-loving child?

Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3077-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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