A lovely, thoughtfully designed collection to help settle the little ones for the night.

READ REVIEW

DAY IS DONE

PRAYERS AND BLESSINGS FOR BEDTIME

Gentle prayers and blessings and pleasing illustrations in muted hues coalesce into a soothing bedtime collection in this British import.

A sleeping crescent moon in a cobalt blue, starry sky is the focus of the illustration on the book’s attractive padded cover. The collection of 30 prayers begins with a rhyming prayer about twilight and the coming dark of evening and with an illustration of a multiethnic group of children leaving a beach as the sun is setting. Subsequent prayers and illustrations show different children at home getting ready for sleep, reading with parents and asleep in bed, and the final prayers lead to daybreak and the promise of a new day. Some of the prayers are traditional favorites, such as the familiar “I See the Moon,” “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” and a well-known Gaelic blessing, while others are short selections by 19th-century British authors. All the selections are Christian prayers, and there isn’t much inclusion from outside Great Britain, except for one short selection from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (formerly Mother Teresa). The majority of the prayers are contemporary, rhyming verses with an overall calming effect complemented by cozy illustrations of sleeping children and animals.

A lovely, thoughtfully designed collection to help settle the little ones for the night. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7459-6389-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lion/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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Though the rhyme tumbles and at times bumbles, enticing imagery will lure readers in.

GOD SPEAKS IN WHISPERS

Rhyming text and colorful multicultural illustrations reassure young readers of God’s omnipresence and still small voice.

“Where in the world is God’s voice found?” Perhaps in ocean waves, bird song, or mountain vistas, suggest the couplet rhymes. Even when readers might be faced with difficult emotions and distractions of all kinds, the text reassures them that God is still there and still speaking, if only one pauses to listen. His voice can be found in nature, in starlight, in the love of family and friends, in dreams, and “through His Word.” Admirably, the bright illustrations, reminiscent of mid-20th-century Disney artist Mary Blair’s stylings, depict children and families with a diverse array of skin tones and ages. There is also a refreshing mix of urban, suburban, and rural settings. Yet, despite the appealing illustrations, the rhymes and scansion are often forced (“your feelings, they matter, / even if they’re all mixed up like / pancake batter”), which detracts from the overall message. Contrived couplets notwithstanding, this title will likely find an audience among Christian households seeking reassuring bedtime reads.

Though the rhyme tumbles and at times bumbles, enticing imagery will lure readers in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-65385-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.

MY DAY WITH GONG GONG

Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A thought-provoking and satisfying pourquoi tale plumbing an element of Jewish life many children may not have considered.

THE SHEMA IN THE MEZUZAH

LISTENING TO EACH OTHER

An old story of compromise helps a little girl understand the reasoning behind the slanted placement of a doorpost mezuzah.

Annie knows it’s important in Jewish homes to have a mezuzah in the doorway, with the words of the Shema prayer (the affirmation of Judaism) enclosed on special paper. When she asks why the mezuzah is hung in a leaning position rather than vertically or horizontally, her grandmother recounts the story of a village. Half the people think it right to post their mezuzah standing up, since the prayer is said when awakening, and the other half think it correct to post it lying down, to recognize its recitation at bedtime. A shouting match ensues, with one side stating “Standing up!” against the other’s “Lying down!” Double-page spreads in deep hues created by acrylic, marker and crayon depict the fray. Equally alienated groups in increasingly agitated positions and with ever-wider mouths are shown above a progressively larger font, effectively evoking the conflict. The wise rabbi introduces a compromise by suggesting a slanted or leaning position. Grandmother reinforces the importance of conciliation, extending the principle of the Shema beyond this conflict: “We stop arguing. We stop yelling at each other. We listen. We are one.

A thought-provoking and satisfying pourquoi tale plumbing an element of Jewish life many children may not have considered. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58023-506-8

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Jewish Lights

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2012

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