SARAH LAUGHS

The beautiful and gentle Sarah married Abraham and joined him on his nomadic life where they led families through the desert, teaching a monotheistic faith in “a God who demanded kindness and good deeds.” In Canaan, Abraham became a wealthy man, while the couple built a happy life together welcoming guests into their tent to share in their food and company. Even so, the absence of a child “smothered the laughter” in Sarah’s heart. Selflessly, she encouraged her husband to father a child (Ishmael) with the servant Hagar in order to realize God’s promise of an abundance of offspring. The author/illustrator team continues their Old Testament series with this midrash-inspired interpretation of the older Sarah’s late entrance to parenthood with the joyful birth of her own son, Isaac. Mellifluous full-page spreads in tones of green and blue pastel/crayon media depict the lyrically told story of this Jewish matriarch who believed her childbearing years had passed. An accessible rendition of the ancient biblical text for young religiously oriented listeners. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8225-7216-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2008

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RUNAWAY DREIDEL!

Readers certainly don’t need to be familiar with the poem “The Night Before Christmas” or with the alternative lyrics to “On Top of Old Smokey” (about the runaway meatball) to appreciate the humor of this Chanukah offering, but it wouldn’t hurt. Owing its rhythm to the former and its plot to the latter, this hilarious take-off has a delicious flavor all its own. ’Twas the first night of Chanukah when a boy’s shiny new dreidel makes a run for it. “It spun past a shoe store and past a boutique / It spun past two delis, one kosher, one Greek.” When the dreidel leaves Brooklyn and heads for the hills, the scenery begins to look more like a Russian shtetl than anywhere in North America. Brooker’s (Isabella Abnormella and the Very, Very Finicky Queen of Trouble, 2000, etc.) madly tilting, fanciful oil and cut-paper collage illustrations are wonderfully textured and full of fabulous details: buttons that look like Greek coins, shirts and dresses cut from wallpaper, and a gift for grandpa in a Tiffany’s signature box. When the dreidel decides to go into orbit—“It sparkled and glittered and twinkled and shone / Like a jewel in the crown of a queen on a throne”—everyone goes home to celebrate the holiday. Naturally, Newman (Dogs, Dogs, Dogs, p. 738, etc.) ends with a nod to that well-known Christmas poem. A lively Chanukah romp that can be enjoyed by every denomination. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-8050-6237-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2002

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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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