Food is an intergenerational bond, and this sensitive portrayal gets it just right.

READ REVIEW

FRENCH TOAST SUNDAYS

Loving memories help a young girl mourn the death of her grandmother.

Mina and her grandmother have always shared a special time on Sunday mornings. Together they prepare French toast using a recipe that consists of “a pinch of this. Not quite right. A shake of that. Mmm, just right.” With the delicious food on her plate, Mina climbs a tree to eat, and Grandma sits at a table nearby. Then, one Sunday, everything is different as family and friends gather. There’s boiled eggs to eat and a candle burning on the windowsill. Unstated in the text, the white Jewish family is sitting shiva—observing a seven-day period of mourning. Mina does not want to join them; she climbs up her tree. More food comes and more memories are shared as Mina inches down the tree and watches through the window. Overhearing the relatives talk about Grandma’s cooking moves Mina to action. It seems that Grandma’s one culinary skill was in preparing French toast, and only Mina knows how to make it. Softly textured illustrations help to convey the tender mood of the story. For many families, the death of a grandparent is observed with both religious and secular customs, and all should find a note of reassurance and comfort here.

Food is an intergenerational bond, and this sensitive portrayal gets it just right. (note to families) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68115-529-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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This Mother’s Day tale is rather limited in its audience to those who can afford fancy brunch after their own religious...

THE BERENSTAIN BEARS MOTHER'S DAY BLESSINGS

From the Berenstain Bears series

The Berenstains’ son adds a Mother’s Day entry to the series, continuing the adventures of the Bear family with a religious focus.

Brother, Sister, and Honey want to do something special for Mama for Mother’s Day, and Papa helps them think of just the thing—brunch at the Bear Country Inn after church—and they can invite Grizzly Gran, too. On the ride to church, Mama points out all the ways other families are celebrating their own mothers even though these community helpers are working on the holiday: Officer Marguerite’s children bring her flowers as she directs traffic, and Mrs. Ben’s children are pitching in with farm chores. Indeed, the trip to church is eye-opening for the cubs, who never realized that some of their neighbors even had children. During the church service, Preacher Brown thanks God for the gift of mothers and quotes the Bible: “Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard planted by the water; it was fruitful and full of branches.” While the illustrations are the same as ever (the smiling bears haven’t aged a bit!), the series seems to have moved away from addressing a variety of families.

This Mother’s Day tale is rather limited in its audience to those who can afford fancy brunch after their own religious services, contrary to its apparent message that being together is all that matters. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-310-74869-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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With this ahistorical interpretation, this book shows a disregard for both free will and the gradual maturation of talents...

THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU

God’s address to the Hebrew exiles from the Old Testament book of Jeremiah is repurposed in this cheery picture book that emphasizes children’s future careers.

In this decontextualized interpretation of the well-known verse, God narrates the text in a first-person, chatty style (“Hey, YOU!”) that urges children to discover their particular purposes in life, specifically related to career choices (“what I CREATED YOU to do”). The story begins with a fantastical factory in the clouds, controlled by engineers, and the disembodied hand of God pointing at readers. A sort of assembly line with seated, staring children scrolls across the bottoms of the pages, with the boys and girls receiving their professional wardrobes from robotic arms. Above the conveyor belt, smiling children are shown in various jobs wearing relevant career attire, with careful inclusion of children of many ethnicities as well as girls in science, medical, and construction jobs. While the text states that children will “find that one thing / that you love the most,” its overall thrust when combined with the illustrations implies that God chooses a profession for each child at birth and that children should be working toward that profession from an early age. The concluding page urges children to stop reading the book and “go out and find my big plans for YOU.” Readers with unemployed parents or parents toiling in miserable, unhappy jobs will be forgiven for wondering just where in God’s plan their families fit.

With this ahistorical interpretation, this book shows a disregard for both free will and the gradual maturation of talents and personalities. (Picture book/religion. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-310-72410-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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