A commendable if imperfect effort; caregivers should be ready for questions




This book of Christian-themed infographics is anchored by the theme of light versus darkness.

Infographics are a hot ticket, utilizing eye-popping graphic design to present charts, graphs, and other informational text in a visually appealing way. Harvest House uses high-contrast colors with bold sans-serif type to grab their viewers. Spreads contrast light with dark and battles between good and evil. Heroes (Esther, Deborah, John the Baptist, Paul) and villains (Cain, Delilah, Herod, Saul before he became Paul) are identified, as are good rulers and bad rulers, God’s power, and human fallibility—though often lacking the nuance present in the source material. Though a “find the hidden objects” game seems targeted to younger readers, the majority of the information presented is best suited to older children with well-established religious vocabularies. The text tackles some difficult theological discussions, including the doctrine of the Trinity. Even with kid-friendly illustrations and simplified language, the concept of “modalism” may be over the heads of many. Still, the book demonstrates an admirable respect in introducing the terminology and addressing the ways many Sunday school analogies fall short in capturing this particular mystery of Christian faith. Some design flaws, such as text in the gutter and confusing charts, further mar an inconsistent introduction to Bible history and doctrine. The decrial of polytheism makes this a less-than-inclusive introduction to Christian principles for non-Christian readers.

A commendable if imperfect effort; caregivers should be ready for questions . (Nonfiction. 8-14)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7369-7632-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Harvest House

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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A useful if occasionally preachy introduction, this book would benefit from the inclusion of more specific details,...



To encourage tolerance, the photographer/authors want to help children understand similarities among Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

The authors assume readers will be people of faith, not atheists or agnostics. After short descriptions of each religion, common themes, such as the Golden Rule, spiritual leaders, sacred texts, clothing, symbols, places of worship, worship acts (use of incense, candles, water, and prayer), charity and cherishing children are explored. The text can be very specific, mentioning branches of Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist) without explaining the differences. (Sunni and Shiite Muslims are not delineated.) Activities will help children, teachers and parents think about religion in a comparative manner, although no sources or further reading are provided, which is a glaring omission. The attractive photos are often cropped into circular or curvilinear shapes and presented on brightly colored pages, giving the book the look of a magazine. Identified by religion but not by country, the photos were taken in the United States and eight other nations, including Mexico, Turkey and Vietnam. Interestingly, Israel and India, seemingly obvious choices, are not included. Captions would have been helpful for some photos such as a picture of a Muslim boy in a distinctive white cape and jeweled hat, which remains unexplained in the text.

A useful if occasionally preachy introduction, this book would benefit from the inclusion of more specific details, including holidays and eating customs. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-55453-750-1

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.


Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Good supplementary material to increase the holiday’s meaning and currency for older children.



From the Orca Origins series

An overview of the holiday of Passover is elaborated with personal narratives, the story’s connection to the Holocaust, and various Seder customs practiced in several countries around the world.

A Canadian author and child of Holocaust survivors, Polak introduces the topic through her own personal account of a secular Jewish upbringing in Montreal. She focuses on how her research on and interest in the Holocaust brought her full circle to hosting her first Seder. The first chapter is devoted to the traditional Haggada, the book used to recount the ancient story, which includes the various rituals performed at the ceremonial meal. She introduces Ben, a Lithuanian survivor, and his version of his family’s Passover observance before World War II. From here Polak clearly connects the biblical story of oppression, escape, and freedom to the Holocaust while segueing into modern-day observance and traditions. Two concluding chapters outline the Jewish community’s charitable commitment to providing food baskets and support for the needy as well as the diversity of multicultural traditions for the holiday as celebrated in not only Israel, but in some Asian, European, and African countries. A plethora of photographs, informational sidebars, drawings, and recipes break up the substantial yet enlightening text.

Good supplementary material to increase the holiday’s meaning and currency for older children. (glossary, index, references) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4598-0990-1

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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