A gentle feline tale aimed at a Christian audience.

BELLA GETS RESCUED

A timid cat finds a forever home and learns what it means to be loved in this debut picture book.

In her work, Wakeman, who holds a master of divinity degree in Christian education, crafts the first-person tale of Bella, a homeless little cat, as a religious parable for young readers. Bella begins her narrative by introducing herself as a kitty who was once lonely and frightened, trying her best to survive rough weather and avoid danger. “I didn’t know I was lost…until I was found,” Bella says. Through clear and simple language, Wakeman brings Bella’s story to life, making it easy for readers to empathize with the shy cat as she describes her rescue from a precarious perch in a tree and, after a stay with a kind veterinarian, her slow adjustment to life in her new home. Despite kind treatment, Bella at first hides under the furniture, continuing to be terrified of every loud noise and fearful of petting. She runs away from her patient and gentle caretakers—until she finally understands, with purring acceptance, that she will always be loved. Knighton matches the tone of the soothing text with appealing watercolor illustrations featuring soft lines, rounded shapes, muted hues, and a diverse human cast. The placement of the images, some full page, some floating in circles against expansive white space, further complements the mood—as does Bella’s expressively fluffy tail. Bella ends her narrative with an upbeat afterword that addresses readers directly, telling them that they can be “found,” too, that they aren’t alone even in dark times. This reassurance closes with a biblical quote to underscore the message of faith within Wakeman’s Christian tale: “God’s perfect love takes away fear” (1 John 4:18). In her note to adults following the story, the author explains her motivation for writing the child-friendly parable: parents, she suggests, could use its “deeper meaning” to help their kids come “to know God as their Heavenly Father.”

A gentle feline tale aimed at a Christian audience. 

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62020-549-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Ambassador International

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2017

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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S SPRINGTIME

From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Fans of this popular series will find this a rewarding addition to family Easter celebrations.

GOD GAVE US EASTER

From the God Gave Us You series

Bergren and Bryant attempt to explain Easter to young children in a gentle, nonthreatening manner, with partial success.

When Little Cub questions her father about Easter, Papa Bear explains the religious significance of the holiday in various symbolic ways to his cub. He uses familiar things from their world, such as an egg and a fallen tree, to draw parallels with aspects of the Christian story. Papa Bear discusses his close relationships with Jesus and God, encouraging Little Cub to communicate with God on her own. The theme focuses on the renewal of life and the positive aspects of loving God and Jesus. Easter is presented as a celebration of eternal life, but the story skirts the issue of the crucifixion entirely. Some adults will find this an inadequate or even dishonest approach to the Easter story, but others will appreciate the calm and soothing text as a way to begin to understand a difficult subject. Bryant’s charming watercolor illustrations of the polar bear family, their cozy home and snowy forest scenes add to the overall mellow effect.

Fans of this popular series will find this a rewarding addition to family Easter celebrations. (Religion/picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-73072-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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