All in all, a muddled effort.



Five double-page scenes and matter-of-fact text present the story of Noah and the flood.

While the author and illustrator wisely simplify the tale, the pacing feels rushed in this dry retelling. The cartoons, which look to be mixed-media in rich jewel tones, are playful and buoyant, though they are not particularly well-served by tactile elements embedded on each page. This “Finger Trail” feature is created by cutting out the top portion of the page to create an indentation and reveal a layer of patterned paper underneath. Readers are encouraged to feel animal footprints, oversized raindrops and the rainbow, among others. The designs on the touch-and-feel elements don’t really connect with what they are supposed to represent. Why would animal footprints be covered with polka-dots or the flight path of the dove have stripes and spots?

All in all, a muddled effort. (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7459-6212-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Lion/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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Blandly pleasant; entirely skippable.


Precious, nursery-style animals and plants decorate the pages of five classic religious adages.

In this hodgepodge collection, Magsamen illustrates childhood prayers with her traditional faux quilting style, featuring candy-colored pastel tones, too-sentimental cartoon animals, and grinning suns, moons, and flowers. There’s a strong heart theme throughout, with a heart-shaped nose on a lamb and similarly shaped birds’ wings. It’s cute but almost entirely generic. Some of the traditional sayings, such as “God made the sun,” are re-created verbatim; others are expanded or altered, as when “I see the moon and the moon sees me” receives additional lines about kissing “nighty-night.” None of these additions adds much to the original, and most have a meter that sounds just a little off. The poems are written in thin, hand-written white letters that don’t always have enough contrast to be seen easily against the background, and the occasional colorfully highlighted and patterned words cramp the page. The simultaneously publishing ’Twas the Night Before Christmas! is purely derivative, with alterations that drastically truncate and remove all the character of the original poem. It reads aloud poorly, particularly to ears accustomed to the original. Both share a tall, narrow trim size that is somewhat unwieldy to hold with a child in the lap.

Blandly pleasant; entirely skippable. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35981-7

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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To enjoy this simple rendition, don’t scrutinize the backdrops too closely.


This dreidel-shaped board book brings to life a condensed version of the well-known Hanukkah song. 

Anthropomorphic raccoon, beaver, mouse, owl and bear families celebrate the holiday in their woodland homes. Each double-page spread shows a different critter family spinning dreidels, lighting menorahs, frying latkes, serving jelly doughnuts or enjoying other traditional activities. The song synchs up well to the page turns, presenting just enough of the song to engage young attention spans. The menorahs, made of logs, acorns, stones and other natural materials, are a clever touch. Since most families light Hanukkah candles at nightfall, the skies seem much too bright, and the forest floor is a little too green for a late fall/early winter holiday, however. 

To enjoy this simple rendition, don’t scrutinize the backdrops too closely. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-53364-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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