PAPA’S PASTRIES

The golden rule gets the spotlight in this tale of selflessness. To provide for their large family, Miguel and his father travel from town to town to sell delicious pastries. Each town welcomes the duo’s arrival through song and dance, though the poor cannot afford the treats. Feeling pity for their plight, Papa graciously donates his baked goods to the struggling villagers. Concern for their family’s welfare causes Miguel and his mother to question this generosity, but his gift is returned threefold when the recipients share their skills with Papa and his growing brood. By focusing on prayer's inspirational power rather than specific doctrine, the nondenominational approach appeals broadly. The religious message cannot escape an earnest wholesomeness, though it refrains from didacticism. Biblical quotations support the straightforward narration. Repetitive dialogue builds the familiar arc to its uplifting conclusion, though the nondescript Latin setting cannot root it. Soft colors suit the quiet message; rounded shapes reveal a sweet vulnerability within each light spread. Overall, Christian charity receives a gentle endorsement. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-310-71602-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Zondervan

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

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This Mother’s Day tale is rather limited in its audience to those who can afford fancy brunch after their own religious...

THE BERENSTAIN BEARS MOTHER'S DAY BLESSINGS

From the Berenstain Bears series

The Berenstains’ son adds a Mother’s Day entry to the series, continuing the adventures of the Bear family with a religious focus.

Brother, Sister, and Honey want to do something special for Mama for Mother’s Day, and Papa helps them think of just the thing—brunch at the Bear Country Inn after church—and they can invite Grizzly Gran, too. On the ride to church, Mama points out all the ways other families are celebrating their own mothers even though these community helpers are working on the holiday: Officer Marguerite’s children bring her flowers as she directs traffic, and Mrs. Ben’s children are pitching in with farm chores. Indeed, the trip to church is eye-opening for the cubs, who never realized that some of their neighbors even had children. During the church service, Preacher Brown thanks God for the gift of mothers and quotes the Bible: “Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard planted by the water; it was fruitful and full of branches.” While the illustrations are the same as ever (the smiling bears haven’t aged a bit!), the series seems to have moved away from addressing a variety of families.

This Mother’s Day tale is rather limited in its audience to those who can afford fancy brunch after their own religious services, contrary to its apparent message that being together is all that matters. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-310-74869-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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The lofty symbolism of this allegorical tale may be above the comprehension level of literal-minded children.

GOOD GOOD FATHER

This Christian allegory presents a little bear who asks an all-powerful lion king for his help in solving the problems of other bear cubs.

Tucker is a cub who likes to help others, but his young friends have all sorts of deep-seated troubles, ranging from illness to hunger to aggression. So Tucker sets off on a journey to see the king, who lives in a hilltop castle “where the door was always open.” The bear cub wants to take along a “perfect gift” for the king to elicit his help, and in familiar fashion, he meets animals along the way who give him additional information about the king and items to take along as presents. Tucker takes all these items to the lion, who explains that as king he can fulfill these roles because he is a good father. The king returns to the town with Tucker, magically solving everyone’s problems with unexplained help and lots of love. Tucker concludes that the king is a “Good Good Father,” and Tucker’s seeking his help was the perfect gift. God is not mentioned in the text, and younger children will need an adult’s assistance in understanding the symbolic meaning of the lion and his multifaceted powers. Pleasant though unnuanced watercolor-and-pencil illustrations of appealing animal characters add some spunk to the story.

The lofty symbolism of this allegorical tale may be above the comprehension level of literal-minded children. (authors’ note) (Picture book/religion. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7180-8695-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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