A charming, light, and personal introduction to saints and their symbolism.



Two-time Caldecott winner Raschka shares his mother’s special way to visit a church: “saint spotting.”

“A church is a weighty thing, isn’t it?” With heavy doors, high ceilings, and stone walls, a church can be an intimidating place for a child. Raschka invites readers to think differently by joining a school-age version of himself and his mother on a personal tour—complete with a painted map. Saint spotting is just what it sounds like: a sort of religious scavenger hunt in which one spots saints by their associated symbols inside a church. Through Raschka’s brief introductions, readers learn about 36 saints and their symbols, including the most important figures of Christianity: Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, and the Evangelists. Illustrations in broadly stroked watercolor primarily of golden hues boost the book’s warmth and welcoming tone. Beautiful endpapers depict rows of animals, such as doves and lambs, that underscore the book’s biblical nature. The book begins and ends with an illustration of Raschka and his mother, hand in hand, at the entrance of a huge Gothic church with a beautiful stained-glass rose window, the book’s exceptionally narrow trim echoing the verticality of the building. Clearly this was a special shared mother-son childhood experience, and readers will leave feeling like they were just let in on a cherished secret game. Most characters depicted, including the protagonist and his mother, present White, but there are some saints of color.

A charming, light, and personal introduction to saints and their symbolism. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5521-3

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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Younger audiences may be mostly interested in the bonking and stinky parts, but the rudiments are at least in place for...


Ten tales from the Old and New Testaments, with plot points and lessons hidden beneath large, shaped flaps.

Higgins depicts Jesus as a bit larger than those around him but otherwise draws him and the rest of the cast—including angels—with similar-looking round heads, wide-open eyes, slightly crooked beards (on the men), and dark brown or olive skin. Cycling arbitrarily among various tenses, the abbreviated, sanitized, and informally retold episodes begin in “a garden” with the tree, most of Adam and Eve, and the “tricky serpent” who “will trick them” initially hidden beneath die-cut flaps. Lifting the largest reveals the disobedient first couple sporting flashy animal-skin togs and text that promises that “God had a plan to save people from sin.” After Noah boards the “crowded, noisy, and stinky” ark, Moses leads the escape from plague-ridden Egypt (“Frogs and locusts! Yucky sores and flies!”), and “David bonks Goliath.” God’s promise eventually bears fruit with the birth and select miracles of Jesus. In the climactic scene, three distant crosses hide beneath a flap that depicts Jerusalem, while behind a tomb in the foreground an angel literally fizzes with fireworks. Beneath a bush readers see Mary (Magdalen) weeping until the risen Jesus (beneath another bush) gives her a hug: “Go tell the disciples that I am alive!”

Younger audiences may be mostly interested in the bonking and stinky parts, but the rudiments are at least in place for homiletic discussion. (Novelty/religion. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5064-4684-4

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Beaming Books

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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Jesus pops up.

“It had been three days since Jesus died on a cross, and his friends were sad.” So Traini (The Life of Martin Luther, 2017) opens his ingenuously retold version of the first Easter. Beginning with two unnamed women clambering down a rocky hill to the graveyard, each of the seven tableaux features human figures with oversized eyes, light brown skin, and solemn or awed expressions posing in a sparsely decorated setting. The women hurry off at the behest of the angel lounging casually in a tomb bedecked with large crystals and fossil seashells to inform the “other disciples” of what’s happened. Along the way the women meet Jesus himself (“Greetings, my friends!”), who goes on to urge disciples “hiding inside a locked room” to touch his discreetly wounded hands. He later shares breakfast (“fish, of course!”) with Peter and others, then ascends from a mountaintop to heaven. Though the 3-D art and the flashes of irreverence set this sketchy rendition of the story apart from more conventional versions, the significance of the event never really comes clear…nor can it match for depth of feeling the stately likes of Jan Pienkowski’s Easter (1983). In the final scene Pentecostal flames appear over the heads of the disciples, leaving them endowed with the gift of tongues and eager to spread the “good news about Jesus!”

Skip. (Pop-up picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5064-3340-0

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Sparkhouse

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

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