BROTHER JUNIPER

In So’s hands, watercolor, ink and gouache make for soft edges, fine detail, bright color and lively expression as Gibfried tells the story of one of St Francis’s friars, Brother Juniper. No one doubts his goodness, but the other brothers worry because Brother Juniper thinks nothing of giving away everything he has. When they go off to preach, a series of needy folk come to the chapel; Brother Juniper meets their great needs by giving away chalice and cloth, doors and windows, even his broom and at last, his robe. The brothers come home to find Juniper naked in an empty hole. They are, needless to say, rather upset, but when Juniper calls the faithful to worship (he has to shout DING DING DING because he gave the bell to a teacher to start a school), all the people he assisted and all of their families gather to thank him. Francis says, “I wish I had a forest of these Junipers.” When Juniper has given away everything, So depicts him from the back wearing only his Franciscan sandals, so children will giggle but understand his fierce generosity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 13, 2006

ISBN: 0-618-54361-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2006

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HE'S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS

Nelson uses the old spiritual—offered here, astonishingly, in its first singleton, illustrated edition, though it’s available in many collections—as a springboard to celebrate family togetherness. Each line of a four-verse version of the lyric captions an intimate scene of an African-American lad, three sibs (one, lighter-skinned, perhaps adopted) and two parents in various combinations, posing together in both city (San Francisco) and country settings, sharing “the moon and the stars,” “the wind and the clouds,” “the oceans and the seas,” and so on. Sandwiched between views of, more or less, the whole world, Nelson alternates finished paintings in his characteristic strong, bold style with authentically childlike crayon drawings done with his left hand—demonstrating a superb ability to evoke both grand and naïve effects. Moving, reverent, spiritual indeed. (musical arrangement to close) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 978-0-8037-2850-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

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ONE CANDLE

This Hanukkah story about a family’s ritual reenactment of Grandma and great-aunt Rose’s Hanukkah spent at Buchenwald many years ago during the “bad time” propounds a disturbing view of the Holocaust. Grandma and great-aunt Rose demonstrate to the family how they hollowed out a potato stolen from the kitchen at the camp, filled it with a dab of stolen margarine, made a wick from a piece of thread, and lit a candle to commemorate the holiday. Popp’s (Sister Anne’s Hands, 1998) realistic drawings of the celebration are soft and subtly colored, reflecting the family’s warmth and closeness, while the drawings of the camp are ghostly in sepia tones. Afterwards the whole family steps outside to look at the Hanukkah lights through the window and drink a toast to life. The disturbing piece is Grandpa’s comment that “The Germans didn’t like a lot of people. It wasn’t only the Jews.” For many, this is a deeply offensive statement, implying as it does that the Jews were not singled out by Hitler and the Germans for the very specific goal of total destruction. Even in the context of human history, the single-mindedness, efficiency, and technological resources put to the task make Hitler’s war against the Jews exceptional. Grandpa’s comment would be problematic in any event, but out of the mouth of the husband of a Holocaust survivor it is troubling indeed. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-060-28115-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2002

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