A simple ode to all food has to offer.

READ REVIEW

TINY BLESSINGS FOR MEALTIME

From the Tiny Blessings series

Love is where the food is.

This tiny board book focuses on all that a meal can do. Food helps us grow strong, smells good, and brings a family together. The text consists of one long sentence, one phrase per double-page spread, until the end, where it concludes: “for giving much more than enough— / thank you for filling us with love.” Since the force that is being thanked is never named, the book has potential application in families of many faiths. Children and families of all ethnicities enjoy the delicious food. Walsh’s style has a bulbous look, and the illustrations are muddied by a color palette that leans on dark greens, oranges, reds, and browns, but the compositions are smartly arranged and put just as much emphasis on smiling faces as they do on the food. Another in the series, Tiny Blessings for a Merry Christmas, publishes concurrently and explores the Christmas holiday with the same illustrator and narrative style. The books are quite small but hard-bound and should stand up to even the most active readers.

A simple ode to all food has to offer. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6096-0

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

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Blandly pleasant; entirely skippable.

PRAYERS FOR LITTLE HEARTS

Precious, nursery-style animals and plants decorate the pages of five classic religious adages.

In this hodgepodge collection, Magsamen illustrates childhood prayers with her traditional faux quilting style, featuring candy-colored pastel tones, too-sentimental cartoon animals, and grinning suns, moons, and flowers. There’s a strong heart theme throughout, with a heart-shaped nose on a lamb and similarly shaped birds’ wings. It’s cute but almost entirely generic. Some of the traditional sayings, such as “God made the sun,” are re-created verbatim; others are expanded or altered, as when “I see the moon and the moon sees me” receives additional lines about kissing “nighty-night.” None of these additions adds much to the original, and most have a meter that sounds just a little off. The poems are written in thin, hand-written white letters that don’t always have enough contrast to be seen easily against the background, and the occasional colorfully highlighted and patterned words cramp the page. The simultaneously publishing ’Twas the Night Before Christmas! is purely derivative, with alterations that drastically truncate and remove all the character of the original poem. It reads aloud poorly, particularly to ears accustomed to the original. Both share a tall, narrow trim size that is somewhat unwieldy to hold with a child in the lap.

Blandly pleasant; entirely skippable. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35981-7

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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To enjoy this simple rendition, don’t scrutinize the backdrops too closely.

DREIDEL, DREIDEL, DREIDEL!

This dreidel-shaped board book brings to life a condensed version of the well-known Hanukkah song. 

Anthropomorphic raccoon, beaver, mouse, owl and bear families celebrate the holiday in their woodland homes. Each double-page spread shows a different critter family spinning dreidels, lighting menorahs, frying latkes, serving jelly doughnuts or enjoying other traditional activities. The song synchs up well to the page turns, presenting just enough of the song to engage young attention spans. The menorahs, made of logs, acorns, stones and other natural materials, are a clever touch. Since most families light Hanukkah candles at nightfall, the skies seem much too bright, and the forest floor is a little too green for a late fall/early winter holiday, however. 

To enjoy this simple rendition, don’t scrutinize the backdrops too closely. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-53364-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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