The story calls for oomph and glory, but the illustrations don’t deliver.

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CREATION COLORS

The biblical story of Creation, seen through a theme of colors.

“In the beginning, there was nothing. No colors at all,” reads the first page, showing a dark gray, canvas-textured background; abstract black and gray cutouts sit in front of it while bits of dark blue peek out from behind it. The architect here is God, unseen and ungendered, spelled out in Christian/mainstream tradition (though the author’s note calls the day of rest “Shabbat,” a Jewish term). God’s creations are mapped onto colors: The spread about skies and oceans is blue while the one about trees and grasses is green. Some mappings, such as pinks for fishes, feel arbitrary. On the first day, when God “separate[s] the crisp, strong blacks / from the wintry, pale whites,” the cutout design resembles a web or net—but with sharp, nonrepeating shapes rather than geometrical repetition. Dim light illuminates the netting-shapes on the black page but doesn’t make them, as the text claims, “crisp.” On “day four” (sun, moon, stars), the low-saturation oranges aren’t “burning” as claimed—though the facing page does blaze thanks to yellows and unacknowledged red. God’s first two humans—unnamed and ungendered, one with medium-light orange-brown skin and short, straight hair, the other with very pale skin and long, loosely-curly brown hair tumbling downward—face demurely away from readers among vine-shaped cutouts.

The story calls for oomph and glory, but the illustrations don’t deliver. (author’s note) (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68115-545-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Fans of this popular series will find this a rewarding addition to family Easter celebrations.

GOD GAVE US EASTER

From the God Gave Us You series

Bergren and Bryant attempt to explain Easter to young children in a gentle, nonthreatening manner, with partial success.

When Little Cub questions her father about Easter, Papa Bear explains the religious significance of the holiday in various symbolic ways to his cub. He uses familiar things from their world, such as an egg and a fallen tree, to draw parallels with aspects of the Christian story. Papa Bear discusses his close relationships with Jesus and God, encouraging Little Cub to communicate with God on her own. The theme focuses on the renewal of life and the positive aspects of loving God and Jesus. Easter is presented as a celebration of eternal life, but the story skirts the issue of the crucifixion entirely. Some adults will find this an inadequate or even dishonest approach to the Easter story, but others will appreciate the calm and soothing text as a way to begin to understand a difficult subject. Bryant’s charming watercolor illustrations of the polar bear family, their cozy home and snowy forest scenes add to the overall mellow effect.

Fans of this popular series will find this a rewarding addition to family Easter celebrations. (Religion/picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-73072-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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