A joyful and charming Passover tale with kid appeal.

SHERLOCK MENDELSON AND THE MISSING AFIKOMEN

In this picture book, a young detective solves the mystery of the missing afikomen at his seder.

On Passover, Sherlock Mendelson, a bespectacled White boy, explains how family and friends gather around the table, say prayers, eat traditional foods, and practice Jewish customs at a seder, “a feast where families learn how Jewish people were slaves in ancient Egypt, but escaped from a wicked king called Pharaoh.” Sherlock’s favorite part is the search for the afikomen, a “piece of matzoh that Grandpa Solomon would wrap in a special cloth” and “hide…for the children to find” for a prize. But when the cloth is found with “nothing inside it,” the searchers realize that “SOMEONE HAD STOLEN THE AFIKOMEN!” Sherlock hunts for the thief with his trusty hound assistant, Watson. The boy follows “a suspicious trail of matzoh crumbs,” compiles clues, dusts for fingerprints, and interrogates the seder attendees. After recounting the events of the evening, Sherlock shockingly discovers the culprit is “my trusted friend and ace assistant…WATSON!” Everyone applauds Sherlock’s sleuthing, and Grandpa doles out candy. Through the eyes of an enthusiastic protagonist, Klein’s story introduces readers to Passover in an approachable, thoughtful manner. Readers will enjoy Sherlock’s amusing antics and playful investigative work. The detective elements, which offer a nod to Sherlock Holmes, are skillfully incorporated, and the entertaining resolution will delight readers. Using saturated, warm tones, Taylor’s lively illustrations include engaging details, as when Watson lurks in the background.

A joyful and charming Passover tale with kid appeal.

Pub Date: June 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-68433-981-5

Page Count: 38

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2022

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Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses.

HOW TO CATCH A LOVEOSAURUS

From the How To Catch… series

An elusive new quarry leads the How To Catch… kids on a merry chase through a natural history museum.

Taking at least a step away from the “hunters versus prey” vibe of previous entries in the popular series, the racially diverse group of young visitors dashes through various museum halls in pursuit of the eponymous dino—whose quest to “spread kindness and joy ’round the world” takes the form of a mildly tumultuous museum tour. In most of Elkerton’s overly sweet, color-saturated scenes, only portions of the Loveosaurus, who is purple and covered with pink hearts, are visible behind exhibits or lumbering off the page. But the children find small enticements left behind, from craft supplies to make cards for endangered species to pictures of smiley faces, candy heart–style personal notes (“You Rock!” “Give Hugs”), and, in the hall of medieval arms and armor, a sign urging them to “Be Honest Be Kind.” The somewhat heavy-handed lesson comes through loud and clear. “There’s a message, he wants us to think,” hints Walstead to clue in more obtuse readers…and concluding scenes of smiling people young and otherwise exchanging hugs and knuckle bumps, holding doors for a wheelchair rider, and dancing through clouds of sparkles indicate that they, at least, have gotten it. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 9781728268781

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

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A celebration of letters that gently gives young readers the knowledge and tools to share the love.

HOW TO SEND A HUG

Hugs are for everyone anytime they need a little extra love, but how can you hug a person who lives far away?

Talking on the phone or via computer isn’t enough, but luckily Artie shares a way to send a hug—by writing a letter. Infused with the love a hug carries, these step-by-step instructions begin with finding the right writing implement and paper and taking plenty of time for this important task. The story then follows the letter’s journey from the mail drop through a variety of possible transports (“by two legs and four legs, by four wheels and two wheels”) to the magic of delivery and the even greater joy of getting a reply. Readers as lucky as Artie will receive a return letter that carries the scent of its writer, like Grandma Gertie’s missive, filled with rose petals. Fun wording, like putting the letter in a “special jacket to keep it safe and warm” (an envelope), sticking “a ticket” on the envelope “in just the right spot” (a stamp), and the letter being picked up by a “Hug Delivery Specialist” (postal worker), adds humor, as does Artie’s ever present pet duck. Artie and Grandma Gertie present White; the postal workers and the other people depicted receiving letters throughout are racially and geographically diverse. The realistic illustrations in pencil, watercolor, and digital color expand the story and add a layer of love and humor. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A celebration of letters that gently gives young readers the knowledge and tools to share the love. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-30692-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

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