This attempt to straddle the line between modern and traditional elements misses the mark. (Picture book. 3-7)

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HOME BY ANOTHER WAY

A CHRISTMAS STORY

The story of the Nativity is told from the perspective of three not-so-wise men with literal stars in their eyes.

The three, each with a star “lodged in his right eye” and each “glad for a reason to get out of town,” meet one another on their way to bring gifts to a king. They arrive at Herod’s palace. Herod picks his fingernails and has breath that smells “like Pine-Sol.” He doubts that the men are fulfilling any prophecy but directs them to Bethlehem. The colloquial tone of the lengthy text—“But sure, why not?”—seems to be an attempt to make the story relevant; its success will vary from reader to reader. The clueless men follow the star to a humble home, where they kneel before a baby because “it was him, then, whoever he was.” The next day, the guiding stars are gone, the men’s maps no longer work, but they are wise enough to avoid Jerusalem and Herod on their way home. Truly lovely illustrations in soft tones capture the reverent atmosphere and the sense of an ancient time and place that the tongue-in-cheek text seems to reject. The Wise Men are diverse, and the other people have skin tones in varying shades of brown.

This attempt to straddle the line between modern and traditional elements misses the mark. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-947888-00-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flyaway Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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Sweet, but like marshmallow chicks, just a bit of fluff.

THE LITTLEST EASTER BUNNY

From the Littlest series

The smallest bunny in Easter Town finds that she and her little chick friend are big enough to help the Easter Bunny prepare for the annual Easter egg hunt.

In the fifth entry in the Littlest series, Penny the bunny wants to help get ready for Easter. All the rabbits in her family are busy with their special jobs, getting eggs, candy, and baskets in order, but little Penny seems too small or clumsy to be of any help. Her parents and siblings try to let her assist them, but she falls into a vat of dye, spills marshmallow goo, gets tangled in the strands of a basket, and fails to fill even one Easter basket. Feeling dejected, Penny befriends a tiny chick named Peck. With the help of Penny’s family, Penny and Peck make miniature treats and petite baskets suitable to their own size. When the Easter Bunny’s main helpers fall ill, Penny and Peck convince the Easter Bunny that their small size will help them do the best job of finding spots to hide eggs as well as their own tiny basket creations. This too-pat conclusion doesn’t quite hold up to logical analysis, as the full-size eggs and baskets are still too large for Penny and Peck to handle. Bland cartoon illustrations are filled with bunnies in candy-bright pastels with a greeting-card cuteness quotient.

Sweet, but like marshmallow chicks, just a bit of fluff. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-32912-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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