NACHSHON, WHO WAS AFRAID TO SWIM

A PASSOVER STORY

“Brave Nachshon,” afraid only of swimming, and his family have been slaves in Egypt for generations. Then Moses speaks of freedom, a dream Nachshon has had all his life. At the “Sea of Reeds,” which sits between the advancing Egyptians and escape, Nachshon is the first to step in, emboldened by the great man’s words of encouragement. It is when he is almost completely submerged that the sea parts and Moses leads his people across. This is a stirring tale of courage and faith, and it reads aloud well. An author’s note provides background for the tale, from brief references to Nachshon from the Torah to a more fully developed story from the Midrash. Jago’s stylized art supplies his characters with Egyptian profiles atop slender bodies; the predominant oranges, yellows and browns, then blues and greens, befit the desert and watery settings, respectively. Knowledgeable readers will miss a recounting of all the plagues visited on the Egyptians as well as the miracle of the waters washing over them. Still, a good addition to the holiday canon. (Picture book/religion. 6-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8225-8764-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2009

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A PLUMP AND PERKY TURKEY

The leaves have changed, Thanksgiving nears—and the canny turkeys of Squawk Valley have decamped, leaving local residents to face the prospect of a birdless holiday. What to do? They decide to lure a bird back by appealing to its vanity, placing a want ad for a model to help sculptors creating turkey art, then “inviting” the bird to dinner. The ploy works, too, for out of the woods struts plump and perky Pete to take on the job. Shelly debuts with brightly hued cartoon scenes featuring pop-eyed country folk and deceptively silly-looking gobblers. Pete may be vain, but he hasn’t lost the wiliness of his wild ancestors; when the townsfolk come for him, he hides amidst a flock of sculpted gobblers—“There were turkeys made of spuds, / there were turkeys made of rope. / There were turkeys made of paper, / there were turkeys made of soap. / The room was full of turkeys / in a wall to wall collage. / For a clever bird like Pete / it was perfect camouflage.” He makes his escape, and is last seen lounging on a turkey-filled tropical beach as the disappointed Squawk Valleyites gather round the table for a main course of . . . shredded wheat. Good for a few giggles. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-890817-91-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2001

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CHRISTMAS DAY IN THE MORNING

This longer story by Nobel Laureate Buck, originally published in 1955, is presented for the first time as an illustrated work for children. Early one Christmas, an older man thinks back to his best Christmas morning in the year that he was 15 and living on his family dairy farm. That year, the narrator of the story, Rob, surprised his father with a special, heart-felt gift by getting up in the middle of the night to do all the milking by himself so his father could have Christmas morning off. The boy’s joy in planning the surprise for his father and the touching appreciation, pride, and love in the father’s gratitude are effectively conveyed in both the moving text and in Buehner’s (Snowmen at Night, p. 1385, etc.) realistic paintings. His deep-toned, striking illustrations are mainly set at night, with snowy farm scenes lit only by glowing lantern and shining star. One spread shows the Nativity scene with puffy clouds in a turquoise evening sky shaped like angel heralds, and the following memorable spread of the barn at night repeats this element with subtle clouds in the shapes of the participants in the manger setting. Buck’s sentimental but touching story memorably illustrates the value of a gift created with love, a gift like Buehner’s. (illustrator’s note) (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-688-16267-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2002

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