WHILE THE CANDLES BURN

In eight stories, Goldin (The Passover Journey, 1994, etc.) seeks to go beyond the specific historical basis for Hanukkah to the themes that the holiday celebrates: ``religious freedom and commitment, faith, courage, charity, rededication, honoring women at Hanukkah, lights, and miracles.'' Several of the stories focus on maintaining faith in the face of persecution. Others take a look at the tension between pride and charity, or explore such timely themes as Arab/Israeli relations or the role of women in Judaism. Only one is specifically a Hanukkah story, but whether original or traditional (with sources cited in the back), all illuminate and celebrate the spiritual teachings of Judaism. Goldin's book is a welcome addition for its broad-based evocation of a rich culture, and while some readers will be bogged down by the introduction and background material, the tales themselves are well-chosen and simply told. Greenstein's illustrations—monoprints overlaid with gouache—have a rustic appeal. A worthwhile collection. (Short stories. 6-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-670-85875-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1996

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SAINT VALENTINE

The most interesting feature of this retelling of a story about a saint martyred in A.D. 270 is the art, a meticulous re- creation of the medium of its subject's period. Using thousands of tiny, rectangular pieces resembling tiles, Sabuda replicates the effect of Roman mosaics. His simple designs and harmonious, gently muted colors are pleasing, and he achieves surprising subtleties of expression, considering the intractability of the medium. Actually, the illustrations work even better from a slight distance (as with a group), so that the demarcations between the tiny pieces are less predominant. The technique, which tends to congeal the action, makes relatively undramatic illustrations; still, it's a fascinating experiment that brings the ancient world to life by paying tribute to its art rather than by picturing it in a modern style. The straightforward narrative centers on Valentine as a physician whose ointment restores the sight of a jailer's blind daughter, long the saint's friend. It's implied that the long-awaited cure takes place at the moment of his offstage death; the story ends with the joy of the child's renewed vision. An unusual and attractive rendition. Historical note. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-689-31762-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1992

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BAD KITTY

From the Bad Kitty (chapter book) series , Vol. 2

Bad Kitty is back; and, just like every morning, she doesn’t want to get out of bed. Today, however, is a special day: Bad Kitty’s birthday! After a special alphabetical breakfast made of everything from Aardvark Bagels to Yak Zabaglione, Bad Kitty “helps out” with the decorations (i.e., destroys them). She picks out what she really wants from the Cat-alog of Cat Toys just before the guests start to arrive. She unwraps their… questionable gifts, which promptly vanish. Who is stealing them? Bad Kitty’s human gives her a truly hideous gift, and Bad Kitty has a major freakout until a special guest calms her down. Then Poor Puppy gives Kitty his homemade present, and it’s time for bed. Bruel’s follow-up to Bad Kitty Takes a Bath (2008) is nearly as much fun. Uncle Murray returns with his real facts about cats, and an appendix offers information on the breeds of each of the guests. The frenetic black-and-white illustrations are just plain hysterical, and the translations of Siamese Chatty Kitty’s blathering is a stitch. Fun for all, especially fans. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-59643-342-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2009

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