Next book



A limpid, heartfelt retelling of Mary Magdalene’s story.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Jesus’ leading female follower gets a starring role in this winsome illustrated children’s book.

Ring, a psychologist, former radio host, and Episcopal priest, recaps Gospel stories that foreground Mary Magdalene’s close relationship with Jesus. The author touches on Jesus’ boyhood, baptism, and recruitment of his 12 male apostles. Ring then introduces Mary when she joins the band of disciples soaking up Jesus’ teachings and distinguishes herself by showing “that she grasped what Jesus meant more than any of the others.” (In particular, she pays close attention when Jesus predicts that antagonistic religious leaders are plotting to kill him.) Later, the author follows a Christian tradition that identifies Mary as the woman who poured expensive oil over Jesus’ head. She is upbraided for the extravagant gesture by disciples who say she should have sold the oil and donated the money to the poor, but Jesus praises her for anointing his body for burial. The story moves on to Jesus’ trial, crucifixion, and resurrection, with Mary prominent among the disciples standing vigil at the cross, escorting Jesus’ body to the tomb, and returning on Easter Sunday to find the tomb empty. Mary then undertakes the mission of informing the apostles of the resurrection, which gives her the status of “the Apostle to the Apostles” in church lore. The book concludes with suggestions to readers that they emulate Mary’s virtue in being a good friend to Jesus in his time of need and cultivate their own relationships with Jesus and others. Ring’s text hews closely to traditional biblical stories, relating them in simple, spare prose that hints at the intense emotions coursing through these miraculous events. (“Feeling fear and joy, the women ran to tell the disciples. Suddenly, Jesus appeared in front of them. Jesus called Mary by name and told her, ‘Go tell the disciples, that I have risen and I will meet them in Galilee.’ ”) The color illustrations by Diamond Media Press Company ably convey action and mood. Turning points in Jesus’ journey like the Passion are shown in wide landscapes of desert plains and distant hills while scenes of Jesus teaching Mary are set more intimately enclosed by rocky grottos and green foliage. Ring’s luminous rendering of this important female Gospel figure will resonate with young Christian girls.

A limpid, heartfelt retelling of Mary Magdalene’s story.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2024

ISBN: 9781684866670

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Urlink Print & Media, LLC

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2024

Next book


Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

Next book


Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

Close Quickview