A sweet ode of gratitude for the simple pleasures in a child’s life. Maccarone’s (A Child Was Born, not reviewed, etc.) rhyming verses, containing just a twinkling of humor, enumerate the many things for which little ones can be grateful. The eclectic list begins in a haphazard fashion; each four-line stanza is organized more according to rhyme than category, with the blessings heaped on the night sky and toy cars with equal fervor. Yet, despite this unorthodox coupling, Maccarone gets at the core of a child’s universe, the favorite and familiar: the toys, furniture, and all the minutiae adults so easily pass over but are so vital to and loved by children. By the conclusion, the narrators have expanded beyond the limits of their own sphere to include a heartfelt blessing of the wide world. “Bless the water, / earth, and air / Bless the children / everywhere.” Williams’s (Sleepy Me, p. 590, etc.) softly drawn illustrations reflect the spirit of the poem. Full-bleed paintings in a symphony of sleepy-time hues set the tone for slumber. From mischievous tots whimsically perched atop the moon and stars to a child cuddling with stuffed animals, Williams deftly combines fantastical landscapes with cozy, comforting real-world images. A gentle reminder for youngsters (and adults, too) to be grateful for the small things. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-439-23505-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

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This book for the very young adds to the growing number of books on Islamic fasts and feasts, but in its simplicity it doesn’t supply very much in the way of information. The text starts off rhythmically: “We wait for the moon / we watch for the moon / we watch for the Ramadan moon,” but make little sense when it states “We fast by day / under the moon…” and becomes downright pedestrian as “We speak kind words / and stop bad habits / under the moon.” The pastels lend a special softness and serenity, glowing with intensity when it is really night and the moon is shown in its different phases throughout the lunar month of Ramadan, and the people depicted show some of the diversity of the American Muslim community. Most young readers, however, won’t understand that the people in the book are living through a month of fasting each day, and even the author’s note doesn’t provide adults with enough details to expand upon the text. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8304-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2008

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The inferior book design and dense text do not serve this Bible verse well.


From the Knowing My God series

An exegesis of John 10:14-16 for toddlers.

The biblical text, which begins “I am the good shepherd,” is meted out in short lines on the right-hand side of each double-page spread, written in type meant to look like a child’s handwriting. Below the Scripture on each spread there is a paragraph explaining what a shepherd does, how Jesus is a shepherd and that his followers are his “sheep.” On each facing page is a large photo illustrating the ideas in the text with images of sheep, shepherds and ethnically diverse children at play. The cover, as well as the first two and last two pages of the book, features amateurish cartoons of young children, likely composed on a computer, which jar startlingly against the photos. A note for grown-ups appears at the end describing how to share the book with children of different ages and encouraging parents to let the book grow “with your child.” This suggestion is helpful, since much of the text will likely go over the heads of typical board-book readers. Literal-minded toddlers may be confused by such assertions as, “You—and other people who believe in Jesus are His sheep!” 

The inferior book design and dense text do not serve this Bible verse well. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9854090-2-9

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Graham Blanchard

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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