Coloring pages, connect-the-dot pictures, mazes and educational exercises fill this book that deals with many different topics, including common courtesy, animals and modes of transportation.
Typical coloring-book black line drawings showing children and families in different regions, some wearing traditional clothing and some wearing contemporary outfits, testifying to the omnipresence of Islam. All females are shown wearing hijab, except for the school bullies shown waiting to catch Amira in one maze and the mother and girls in a family whose members “don’t know much about Islamic manners.” The most useful parts of the book are the language lessons: one with the word “welcome” in 10 languages and other pages with Arabic words and expressions with English transliterations and Arabic calligraphy. (These words connect to a cloze activity in which a child has to insert the correct word in different sentences, a clearly didactic exercise.) There are also related cards with English definitions, transliterations and Arabic lettering. These cards, including words such as jazakalla, “We thank others by saying this (may Allah reward you),” can be cut out and used for matching games. While not useful for libraries, Muslim parents seeking educational materials on Islam and the Arabic language may want to purchase this for their children. There is even a “Certificate of Achievement.”
Candy-coated, old-fashioned educational coloring book for a very specific audience.
(Activity book. 4-8)
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)
Teaching our daughters how to love themselves is the first step toward the next generation’s owning its power.
It’s heady stuff for a picture book, but it’s never too soon for a woman—even a little woman—to know her worth. Denhollander (the first of sex offender Larry Nassar’s abuse victims to speak out) presents a poetic discourse that resonates beyond its young intended audience. Her simple rhyming couplets speak to the power of image and the messages that shape how we become who we are. The eloquence comes not from the words or phrasing as much as the message as well as the passion. Denhollander, an attorney, a mother, and a former gymnast–turned-coach for a time, delivers stanzas infused with sweet sentimentality as well as fiery fierceness. New artist Huff provides lovely, expressive illustrations depicting girls of many racial presentations in various stages of self-discovery and acceptance. The figures are smiling and cartoonlike, with oversized, round heads and sturdy bodies—though none could be called fat, none exhibits twiglike proportions. Denhollander’s book is unapologetically Christian in approach, with more than one reference to “Him” or a creation by a greater power. With sincerity helping to mitigate occasionally artless text, this is a worthwhile message for young girls who, in an age of shrinking women’s rights, need all the encouragement possible to find their voices and love themselves.
Girls will hear the answer to the titular question.
(Picture book. 4-8)