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JUDAH MACCABEE GOES TO THE DOCTOR

A special shield provides courage on the battlefield and in the doctor’s office.

Hanukkah heroism helps a little boy face his fears about getting an inoculation.

Judah faces many challenges in his desire “to be the BEST big brother ever.” He tries to play with his baby sister, Hannah, and to help her eat her breakfast, but she isn’t satisfied. (She is a baby, after all.) Then as Hanukkah approaches, his bubbe tells him the story of Judah Maccabee, who had four brothers and who “protected them and kept the Jewish people safe, too.” The numerous, white members of Judah’s family gather to celebrate the holiday as the first of eight candles burns brightly in the window, and Judah receives a present: a shield decorated with the Maccabee name. On the last day of the holiday, it’s time for the titular visit to the doctor, a black woman. Hannah and Judah get a thorough checkup, and both are pronounced healthy. Then Judah learns that he will need a shot to help protect both him and his little sister from illness. With his shield in hand and a few tears, Judah gets his inoculation. Koffsky tackles two seemingly disparate subjects for a very young audience and their caregivers, combining Hanukkah themes of bravery with the importance of inoculations that can also protect those too young to receive shots. Colorful art with expressive faces fills the pages.

A special shield provides courage on the battlefield and in the doctor’s office. (author’s note) (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68115-522-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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GOD GAVE US EASTER

From the God Gave Us You series

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

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. 11, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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WHEN I TALK TO GOD, I TALK ABOUT YOU

Stick to separate books about parental love and prayer instead.

This Is Us actor Metz and her partner, songwriter Collins, present a rhyming children’s book about prayer and parental love.

“When I talk to God, guess what I do? / It’s really quite simple: I talk about you.” Fields’ pencil and digital illustrations show different parent-child animal pairs throughout, from bears to otters to skunks, ducks, deer, and more. But from this auspicious beginning, the authors’ point of view and direct address to “you,” the child, makes the majority of the pages seem like affirmations of what they love about their child and not what the parent actually prays for. Adults reading this aloud may see this as a prayer of thanksgiving for their child’s gifts and qualities, but little listeners will not make that connection. In the final pages, the parent tells the child that they can talk to God, too, and that God is always by their side. The last spread states, “You’re my sweetest prayer.” While the individual parts are sweet and affirming of a parent’s love and pride in their child, the sum of those parts isn’t what’s advertised in the title and repetitive refrain “When I talk to God, / I talk about you.” The gentle artwork in soft colors anthropomorphizes the animals’ facial expressions to make their loving relationships clear. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Stick to separate books about parental love and prayer instead. (Religious picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-52524-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022

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