A gorgeous re-envisioning of an old, old story.

THE ENDURING ARK

A fresh take on an enduring tale retells the story of Noah and Na’mah and the great flood.

The book’s innovative accordion design illustrated in the Bengal Patua style of scroll painting is just one of the sumptuous design elements that distinguish it as a remarkable offering. A slipcase decorated with the eponymous ark adrift on swirling blue ocean waters covers the hardcover; when it is revealed, it shows pairs of animals, two by two aboard the vessel. The first pages invite readers to open up the spreads side by side so they unfurl into a continuous piece of art, first showing a great eye looking down upon verdant landscape. Omniscient opening narration acknowledges the story’s ancient origins and says, “great tales deserve to be repeated—and so let me tell it here again, in my way.” The familiar tale progresses and refreshingly gives an equal role to Na’mah as she and Noah hear God’s warning, build the ark and gather animal pairs to board it. Once the world floods, the art unfolds in the opposite direction, neatly bisecting the story into ante- and postdiluvian parts. A curious artistic decision shows the people not saved by the ark smiling as they succumb to the flood waters, but all other illustrations, including the culminating vision of the rainbow, are sublime.

A gorgeous re-envisioning of an old, old story. (Picture book/art book. 3 & up)

Pub Date: May 14, 2013

ISBN: 978-93-80340-18-0

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Tara Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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A beautifully poignant celebration of memories of a loved one that live on in those that remain.

THE SOUR CHERRY TREE

With ample emotional subtext, a young girl recalls everyday details about her beloved grandfather the day after his death.

The child bites her mother’s toe to wake her up, wishing that she could have done the same for her baba bozorg, her beloved grandfather, who had forgotten to wake up the day before. She kisses a pancake that reminds her of her grandfather’s face. Her mother, who had been admonishing her for playing with her food, laughs and kisses the pancake’s forehead. Returning to Baba Bozorg’s home, the child sees minute remnants of her grandfather: a crumpled-up tissue, smudgy eyeglasses, and mint wrappers in his coat pockets. From these artifacts the narrator transitions to less tangible, but no less vivid, memories of playing together and looks of love that transcend language barriers. Deeply evocative, Hrab’s narrative captures a child’s understanding of loss with gentle subtlety, and gives space for processing those feelings. Kazemi’s chalk pastel art pairs perfectly with the text and title: Pink cherry hues, smoky grays, and hints of green plants appear throughout the book, concluding in an explosion of vivid green that brings a sense of renewal, joy, and remembrance to the heartfelt ending. Though the story is universally relevant, cultural cues and nods to Iranian culture will resonate strongly with readers of Iranian/Persian heritage. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A beautifully poignant celebration of memories of a loved one that live on in those that remain. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77147-414-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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An action-packed, evocative portrayal of courage, friendship, and belonging.

KIKI KALLIRA BREAKS A KINGDOM

Indian folklore meets fantasy adventure in this captivating novel.

Eleven-year-old Kritika “Kiki” Kallira lives in London with her Mum, an immigrant from the state of Karnataka in the south of India; she’s never met her father, who died before she was born. Kiki’s mother is an animator, and Kiki, who struggles with anxiety and spiraling, obsessive thoughts, finds solace in sketching in her notebooks and imagining stories, especially ones inspired by the Hindu mythology they’ve shared. Now, though, Kiki has unleashed the Asura king Mahishasura from his exile through the drawings in her sketchbook. As she travels and travails between London and Mysore, the heroes and demons she’s sketched come to life, and she is faced with seemingly insurmountable tasks and complex obstacles. In her quest to save the world, Kiki shows readers the power of asking for help, believing in oneself, and overcoming fear. The worldbuilding is full of vibrant images and detailed descriptions about Mahishasura’s kingdom and palace, Lalith Mahal. The novel draws inspiration primarily from the story of Mahishasura—who wanted to be immortal—and how he was defeated by the goddess Chamundeshwari. Anxiety and mental health are also explored with honesty and finesse; many young readers will resonate with her struggle to quiet demons both internal and external.

An action-packed, evocative portrayal of courage, friendship, and belonging. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-20697-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2021

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