THE ADVENT CRAFT AND ACTIVITY BOOK

This compendium of old-fashioned craft projects, recipes and stories was written by a Waldorf kindergarten teacher in Germany and translated for English-speaking countries, though the focus remains European and is not well-suited to the U.S. market.

The text is written for adults to use with children and includes explanations of German holiday traditions, such as setting boots outside the door for St. Nicholas to fill on December 6. Recipes for holiday cookies and candies are included, with measurements given in both grams and ounces. Craft projects include traditional advent wreaths, beeswax candles and Nativity figures made from unspun sheep’s wool. Other selections include holiday legends and the Nativity story from the Books of Luke and Matthew. Poems and lyrics to holiday carols are woven throughout, including selections from Shakespeare, Browning and Longfellow. High-quality photographic illustrations of children and craft projects add to the volume’s appeal. There are no safety warnings about cooking or using knives with adult supervision, and there are two photographs of little girls lighting candles with no adult present, which don’t illustrate proper safety protocol. Though there aren’t many family holiday books of this sort available, this version is suitable only for large library collections with heavy demand for Christmas activity books. (Nonfiction. 5-9, adults)

 

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8631-5912-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Floris

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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Prospective younger visitors can do better than this bland mush.

MY FIRST BOOK OF NEW YORK

A scan of landmarks, neighborhoods, food, and other attractions in the Big Apple.

Perfunctory efforts to give this tour at least a pretense of geographic or thematic unity only add to its higgledy-piggledy character. Arrhenius (City, 2018, etc.) opens with a full-page view of the Brooklyn Bridge soaring over an otherwise-unidentifiable cityscape opposite a jumble of eight smaller images that are, for all that one is labeled “Brooklyn Academy of Music” and another “Coney Island,” are likewise so stylized as to look generic. From there, in the same one-topic-per-spread format, it’s on to Manhattan uptown and down for “Rockefeller Center,” “Shopping,” and other random bites. The “Harlem” spread features a fire hydrant, a mailbox, and the (actually distant) Cloisters museum, for instance, and a glance into “Queens” offers glimpses of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, a “Greek restaurant,” a “Mexican restaurant,” and “marathon runners.” The large trim size and aesthetic mimic M. Sasek’s perennial This Is New York (1960, revised edition 2003) while adding much-needed updates with both more diverse arrays of dress and skin hues for the stylized human figures as well as the addition of sites such as the Stonewall Inn, the 9/11 memorial, and the Fearless Girl statue.

Prospective younger visitors can do better than this bland mush. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0990-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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For young architects and kids interested in learning about the world.

PRECIOUS HOME

An Asian boy on a skateboard describes a variety of domiciles.

Inside the contemporary house the child’s family (also Asian) lives in, family members are seen eating, sleeping, studying, watching TV (with retro rabbit ears), and talking on a wall phone, a mixture of details that may evoke the childhood of the author or illustrator. The narrator then takes off in an old-fashioned plane to describe houses in Thailand, Togo, Mongolia, Russia, and Greenland. Exteriors and interiors of the five houses appear in double-page spreads with explanatory text (in a small font) about materials, styles, and construction details embedded within the illustrations; each includes a family and its appropriate animals. The main text (in a large font) is simple and sometimes-awkward: “There are houses wherever people live. Even though houses have different appearances in every country, each one is someone’s precious home.” The explanatory text is a little more advanced and generally flows better. The choice of unusual houses, especially the felt gers of Mongolia and the clay houses of Togo, offers young readers a chance to explore aspects of everyday life in several countries. Refreshingly, the book takes care to emphasize that the Inuit of Greenland live in “wooden or brick houses,” and that igloos are temporary shelters used on hunting trips. The naïve illustrative style is eye-catching and friendly, and the photos in the back endpapers are a useful addition.

For young architects and kids interested in learning about the world. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-939248-19-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: TanTan

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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