A thoughtful exhortation to have “the light of freedom always burn brightly in our homes and in our hearts.” (Picture...

LIGHT THE MENORAH!

A HANUKKAH HANDBOOK

A handbook to help families make Hanukkah—the Jewish Festival of Lights—even more meaningful.

Candles are lit for each night of Hanukkah, starting with one for the first night and finishing with eight for the eighth night. Jules offers eight free-verse poems and eight reflections that combine a history of the holiday with moral teachings that can be followed by those of any or no specific faith. Readers are urged to “brighten the darkness,” to “add our light,” to “appreciate each flickering moment,” and to live with tolerance for all peoples. There is also a retelling of the origins of Hanukkah, factoids (including how many candles are needed in all: 44), and mention of two women associated with the festival. Directions are provided for playing with a dreidel, words and music for two songs, recipes for potato latkes and jelly doughnuts, and simple crafts made from household objects. The illustrations depict a white, observant family and pages filled with flickering lights and stars against a blue background. Other pages show a diverse array of children playing games as well as images of the Holy Land at the time of the first Hanukkah. Caregivers and teachers looking for a general introduction to a plane of higher principles may find this helpful.

A thoughtful exhortation to have “the light of freedom always burn brightly in our homes and in our hearts.” (Picture book/religion. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5124-8368-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book....

YOU ARE MY PUMPKIN

Young children won't understand the metaphors but will appreciate the sentiment made clear by the repeated, Halloween-themed declarations of love in Wan's latest board book.

Each of the seven spreads presents an endearment illustrated by an object drawn with heavy outlines and just enough detail to invoke its essential characteristics. Lest it become too maudlin, between the “sugary, sweet candy corn” and a “purr-fect, cuddly kitty” is a “wild, messy monster.” Wan manages to make each drawing expressive and distinctive while relying on just a few shapes—crescents or circles for eyes, dots or ovals accenting cheeks. Although each spread stands alone, there are quiet connections. For example, the orange of the pumpkin is repeated in the candy corn, and the purple that adorns kitty's hat and bow becomes the prominent color on the next spread, setting off the friendly white ghost nicely. The same purple is used for the spider's body on the next to last spread. Subtle, shadowed backgrounds repeat the patterns found elsewhere in the book. For example, the background of the page with the kitty includes pumpkins, hearts, and hats and bows like the ones kitty is wearing.

While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-88092-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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The theme of friendship and loyalty endures in this enjoyable mock-horror tale for new readers.

FLY GUY AND THE FRANKENFLY

From the Fly Guy series , Vol. 13

“It was a dark and stormy night” as series fans find Fly Guy and Buzz hard at work in their 13th adventure.

Buzz and his insect buddy are playing. After an evening of making puzzles, trying on creepy costumes and admiring a drawing Buzz created featuring them both in their frighteningly fun garb, Buzz’s eyes get heavy and he climbs into bed. But Fly Guy is up to something—he is “BIZZY!” Buzz drops off into dreamland…or does he? A couple of page turns reveal Fly Guy on the verge of bringing a gigantic monster to life. A flip of an electrical switch sets the nightmare in motion. “Buzz cried, ‘It’s Frankenfly!’ ” The enormous, green creature responds to Buzz’s shout and shambles over to him. No surprise that Fly Guy comes to Buzz’s rescue just as the monster, more silly than menacing, picks him up. Morning comes with a fall out of bed to reveal the result of the project Fly Guy was determined to finish the previous night. Giggles and grape juice bring this latest installment to a satisfying close. All the while, Arnold’s deftly drawn cartoon expressions comically show the range of emotions as Buzz and Fly Guy experience fear, shock, bewilderment, determination and pride.

The theme of friendship and loyalty endures in this enjoyable mock-horror tale for new readers. (Easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-49328-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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