A simplified—if not simplistic—conversation starter.

SNOW FOR EVERYONE!

Three children argue about where the snow comes from and who it belongs to, learning that they can share and enjoy together.

One rare snowy day in Jerusalem, Samir, Mira, and Rafi are playing but fall to arguing over how to “divide up the precious snow.” They each decide to find out where it comes from and who owns it. Samir runs to the mosque to ask the imam; Mira goes to the church looking for the priest; and Rafi, to the synagogue to query the rabbi. Each child takes some snow with them only to discover when they reach their chosen authority that it has melted. The children’s squabble is clearly a metaphor for the conflicts that arise among the region’s different ethnic groups; Mira even draws a border. Schneider’s text mentions soldiers, traders, worshippers, pilgrims, and tourists but doesn’t delve into the region’s complexities. Using gold and blue tones, Chang portrays the many different people moving through the city and the clothes and carpets displayed in the market. An unattended, fedora-clad camel strikes an odd note. Controversially, the people appear to live in peaceful coexistence, but this is not an everyday reality in divided Jerusalem. The book does not supply context necessary for readers unfamiliar with the conflict to understand such details as Mira’s border or that a war over the territories has gone on for years.

A simplified—if not simplistic—conversation starter. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4320-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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