The dullness of the chosen hues dampens the soothing lines.

This bedtime book pairs reassuring, original blessings with Bible verses from Psalms, Proverbs, and Deuteronomy.

Almost every double-page spread features a young animal with an older companion, likely a parent. A very pale-green whale and a calf surface on a gray sea at sunset; a gray-and-white wolf and cub frolic in the moonlight; and a black-and-white bird feeds a young hatchling still in the nest. Text set in a large, white or deep gray type displays Assell’s sweet messages (“Tonight, most precious gift, you are safe”) while the Bible verses that inspire them appear below (“I lay down and slept safely” Psalm 3:5, Amplified Bible version). Exclusively male language is used for God, and several different translations of the Bible are quoted; in addition to the AMP, readers will encounter the New Living Translation, New International Version, and God’s Word. While Copple’s cartoon animals can be endearing, the color palette rests heavily on shades of gray, white, and dull orangey-pink, making many of the landscapes look bleak rather than comforting. The penguin perched by itself on an angular iceberg facing the setting sun, for instance, looks very much alone, textual assurance otherwise notwithstanding.

The dullness of the chosen hues dampens the soothing lines. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: May 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4964-3624-5

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Tyndale House

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019


While the gimmick is fun, this ark doesn’t hold water.

A very simple retelling of Noah and the Great Flood.

In rhyming verse, God tells Noah (“a brave, good man”) to build an ark and gather the animals as a couple of unnamed members of his family help out. Five double-page spreads present the scenes from this section of Genesis, ending with the appearance of the rainbow as God says “No floods like this again.” While the text succeeds in highlighting the parts of the story of most interest to the youngest children, the verse has several hiccups. The boldly colored art, which looks to have been created digitally, includes a wide variety of critters in the scenes, including two clown fish jumping through the waves. Unfortunately, it falls down in presentation as some of the cartoon animals and backgrounds look quite detailed and crisp, while others are jarringly blurred. More enticing for little ones will be the shaped, die-cut pages. The top of the book is arched like the rainbow or, depending on the page, the ceiling of the ark, and the curve also acts as a handle for toddlers to grasp. The die cuts allow the animals to peek through subsequent pages, but some stray images, like the top of the ark or Noah’s head, show through in odd places.

While the gimmick is fun, this ark doesn’t hold water. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-60557-1

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Little Shepherd/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014


From the Frolic series

A well-intentioned read held back by some design flaws.

Little ones learn about God’s creations.

God made all the creatures in the animal kingdom, and this board book aims to teach toddlers about them. The text is formatted with abcb rhyme scheme (“God made the panda / who eats bamboo shoots // God made the owl / who whoos and hoots”), with one animal presented per double-page spread. Just the tops of the animals’ heads are presented, with their eyes cut out so little ones can hold up the book and turn the illustration into a mask. The book ends with the assurance that God made us too, and a white baby is on hand with its eyes cut out as well, for an effect that is both limiting and rather creepy. The text is simple enough and leaves room for interpretation. Creationists and believers in evolution may find common-enough ground: the book says that God made the animals but not how or how long it took. Less successful is the mask component, which is clumsy at best and might scare sensitive little ones at worst.

A well-intentioned read held back by some design flaws. (Board book. 1-2)

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5064-2185-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Sparkhouse

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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