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SHABBAT SHALOM, HEY!

Charming and joyous but not for the uninitiated.

Preparing for the Friday night Shabbat ceremony and meal is a joyous expression of faith and tradition.

Shabbat is the most important ritual observance in Judaism, beginning on Friday night at sundown and lasting until Saturday night at sundown. It is a day of prayer and rest, an abstention from all forms of work. “Shabbat Shalom, Hey” is a song that children sing in anticipation of Shabbat, and here, the song lyrics are the only text. The slight tale is told solely via the illustrations, which are viewed by turning the book vertically. Bright color blocks surrounded by white provide the backgrounds. A lion states the Sabbath greeting and is startled to hear a response of “Hey!” from a toucan peeking over the top edge of the frame. Repeating the greeting elicits the same response from a monkey and a snake, this time at the bottom edge. The lion continues his greetings with increasing levels of excitement until the other creatures join in with him, bringing the traditional accouterments of the Shabbat dinner in the form of candlesticks, a wine goblet and the traditional braided bread called challah. It is lively and entertaining, but it presumes an audience that knows the traditions. A recording of the song can be downloaded via QR code on the back of the book.

Charming and joyous but not for the uninitiated. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4677-4917-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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HAPPY EASTER FROM THE CRAYONS

Let these crayons go back into their box.

The Crayons return to celebrate Easter.

Six crayons (Red, Orange, Yellow, Esteban, who is green and wears a yellow cape, White, and Blue) each take a shape and scribble designs on it. Purple, perplexed and almost angry, keeps asking why no one is creating an egg, but the six friends have a great idea. They take the circle decorated with red shapes, the square adorned with orange squiggles “the color of the sun,” the triangle with yellow designs, also “the color of the sun” (a bit repetitious), a rectangle with green wavy lines, a white star, about which Purple remarks: “DID you even color it?” and a rhombus covered with blue markings and slap the shapes onto a big, light-brown egg. Then the conversation turns to hiding the large object in plain sight. The joke doesn’t really work, the shapes are not clear enough for a concept book, and though colors are delineated, it’s not a very original color book. There’s a bit of clever repartee. When Purple observe that Esteban’s green rectangle isn’t an egg, Esteban responds, “No, but MY GOSH LOOK how magnificent it is!” Still, that won’t save this lackluster book, which barely scratches the surface of Easter, whether secular or religious. The multimedia illustrations, done in the same style as the other series entries, are always fun, but perhaps it’s time to retire these anthropomorphic coloring implements. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Let these crayons go back into their box. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-62105-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022

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I LOVE YOU MORE THAN CHRISTMAS

Like marshmallow on top of caramel.

Little Bear loves everything about Christmas, but there’s one thing he loves even more.

The Bear household is busily getting ready for Christmas. Mommy Bear wraps and bakes; Daddy Bear brings home a humongous tree; Little Bear exults in it all. With each new Christmas tradition that’s introduced, from opening Christmas cards to receiving carolers, Little Bear sings a song that celebrates it. “I love ornaments, and garland, and lights on a string, / candy canes, stockings—and all of the things / that make Christmas perfect—oh, yes, I do! / But the thing that I love more than Christmas is—” But before Little Bear can complete his rhyme, each time he is interrupted by a new element of Christmas to celebrate. Since that terminal rhyme is always set up with one that ends with an “oo” sound, readers will not be surprised in the least when Mommy and Daddy interrupt him one last time with an emphatic “YOU!” It’s all so uber-idealized readers may find themselves gagging on the syrup—it even seems to get at Hattie: Daddy Bear’s smug “What an exceedingly talented family we are” has a whiff of irony to it. Warnes’ cartoon bears inhabit a cozy, middle-class home; while the carolers are clothed, the Bear family is not, but readers may notice a white marking on Mommy Bear’s chest where a string of pearls might rest.

Like marshmallow on top of caramel. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-208-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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