BARRY MOSER’S PSALM 23

The main character in this fine interpretation of the beloved psalm is a modern-day shepherd boy from the Caribbean island of Antigua. Beneath the title words set in shiny blue type, the simple but striking cover shows the smiling boy protectively holding his charge, a lamb that appears throughout the volume. The shepherd boy’s care for the lamb cleverly echoes the words of the psalm as he provides food, water, shelter and protection from danger. Moser’s masterful watercolors evoke the tropical heat in sunny green pastures and the welcome cool of shadows falling on sleeping sheep. His thoughtful illustration of the valley of the shadow of death shows two lost sheep at the bottom of a dark chasm. Sharp-eyed readers will note mysteriously malevolent eyes peering out from crevices, with a single yellow butterfly providing a glimpse of hope. Though his conceptualization of the psalm is simple in nature, the overall effect is powerful, concluding with a spread of misty purple skies and sea behind one white dove taking flight. An introductory artist’s note explains Moser’s connection to the Antiguan setting and his interpretation of the psalm’s text. (publisher’s note) (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-310-71085-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2008

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Girls will hear the answer to the titular question.

HOW MUCH IS A LITTLE GIRL WORTH?

Teaching our daughters how to love themselves is the first step toward the next generation’s owning its power.

It’s heady stuff for a picture book, but it’s never too soon for a woman—even a little woman—to know her worth. Denhollander (the first of sex offender Larry Nassar’s abuse victims to speak out) presents a poetic discourse that resonates beyond its young intended audience. Her simple rhyming couplets speak to the power of image and the messages that shape how we become who we are. The eloquence comes not from the words or phrasing as much as the message as well as the passion. Denhollander, an attorney, a mother, and a former gymnast–turned-coach for a time, delivers stanzas infused with sweet sentimentality as well as fiery fierceness. New artist Huff provides lovely, expressive illustrations depicting girls of many racial presentations in various stages of self-discovery and acceptance. The figures are smiling and cartoonlike, with oversized, round heads and sturdy bodies—though none could be called fat, none exhibits twiglike proportions. Denhollander’s book is unapologetically Christian in approach, with more than one reference to “Him” or a creation by a greater power. With sincerity helping to mitigate occasionally artless text, this is a worthwhile message for young girls who, in an age of shrinking women’s rights, need all the encouragement possible to find their voices and love themselves.

Girls will hear the answer to the titular question. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4964-4168-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tyndale House

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Creative, comedic, and carrot-loads of fun.

A IS FOR ANOTHER RABBIT

An obsessed narrator creates an alphabet book overrun with rabbits, much to the chagrin of an owl who wants to create a “proper, respectable” alphabet book.

The picture book begins, “A is for A rabbit,” an illustration of a large brown rabbit taking up most of the recto. The owl protagonist—presumably the co-creator of the book—points out that “rabbit” begins with “R.” “Yes, but “a rabbit” starts with A,” says the narrator, before moving on to “B is for bunny,” which, as the owl points out, is just another name for rabbit. Despite the owl’s mounting frustration, the narrator genially narrates several rabbits into existence on almost every single page, rendered with such variety that readers will find their proliferation endlessly amusing. The letter D, for instance, introduces readers to “delightful, dynamic, daredevil RABBITS!” (a herd of biker rabbits), and although the narrator says “E is for Elephant” (which momentarily satisfies the owl), the image depicts several rabbits poorly disguised as an elephant. Much to the owl’s chagrin and, ultimately, exhaustion, the narrator grows more and more creative in their presentation of their favorite animal as the picture book proceeds down a rabbit hole of…well, rabbits! Batsel’s debut picture book for readers already familiar with the English alphabet is funny and highly entertaining. The whimsical narrative and the colorful images make this an excellent elementary-age read-aloud.

Creative, comedic, and carrot-loads of fun. (Picture book. 4-8)/p>)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2950-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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JONAH AND THE WHALE

An accessible but undistinguished simplification of the Bible story, with the gratuitous addition that Jonah is a man ostracized by his neighbors because he's so lazy. Patterson's bold, painterly illustrations are more satisfactory: using heroic figures and broad areas of color that recall early Renaissance frescoes, he sets the story firmly in the early eastern Mediterranean and provides an agreeably dramatic whale, including one glimpse from inside-out as Jonah emerges. An acceptable additional edition. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 12, 1992

ISBN: 0-688-11238-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1992

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