ON PURIM

This is a sprightly overview from Fishman (On Passover, 1997), who uses a young girl’s preparations as the vehicle for a recounting of the Purim story. The full cast of characters is present—Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus, Mordecai and Haman—for a lesson in how Mordecai and Esther’s acts of courage turned the wastrel Ahasuerus into a decent king and saved the Jews from Haman’s wrath. Fishman smoothly includes a handful of Hebrew words in the text—hamantashen, shalach manot, and tzedakah—and makes Haman emerge in all his evilness, with prompts for stomping, hooting, and yelling at the mention of his name. In the end, Fishman explains how God’s presence can be detected in the mettle of Mordecai and Esther, in their willingness to do the right thing at a potentially dire cost. Their example also universalizes the tale, providing transcendent acts of personal courage. Hall’s pastel-pretty illustrations beguilingly serve to transmit the story and give it a suitably cozy atmosphere. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-82392-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

AN ELF FOR CHRISTMAS

The text in Garland’s book has little merit, and appears mostly as an excuse for the digital artwork. The night before Christmas, Tingle, a diligent elf in Santa’s workshop, falls asleep in the cockpit of a toy plane he has been working on. When the plane is wrapped, so is he, and the package is tucked into Santa’s sleigh and delivered to Joey for Christmas. Tingle gets homesick, flies the plane homeward, runs out of power, and hitches a ride with a polar bear. Garland makes no effort to endow his principals with any personality or presence; the artwork suffers from a grating juxtaposition of hyperrealism and smoky, blurred imagery. The proportions and depths of field are discomfittingly exaggerated, except for a scene in which the northern lights are on display above Santa’s workshop—there the otherworldliness perfectly matches the event. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-525-46212-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

HALLOWEEN MOTEL

Creature feature fans are sure to find their favorite nightmares attending this Halloween soiree. Ready to party at the Halloween Motel, a family checks in, dons costumes (Dad’s Elvis—the horror, the horror), and breezily heads off down the halls to meet the other guests—all of whom wear amazingly realistic ghost, ghoul, mummy, vampire, zombie, witch, and other outfits. The rhymed text trots merrily along, with occasional choruses, and frequent changes in typeface and size, for variety. Rocco’s postmodern cartoon scenes, done in garish greens and purples, are chock-full of googlies, more caricatured than scary. When the irritated guests complain about “weirdos” coming to their doors, patchy green desk clerk Frankie Stein lurches up to inform the trick-or-treaters that they’re at the wrong venue; the Halloween Motel is down the road a piece. More giggles and squiggles from the author and illustrator of Snow Inside the House (1998), this is guaranteed to be a big storytime hit. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2000

ISBN: 0-06-028815-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more