THE PRINCESS AND THE ZIZ

Jules’s fourth Ziz book continues her versions of Midrash stories featuring the giant bird of Jewish mythology. The Ziz is summoned by the wise King Solomon of Israel for a critical job—keeping the Princess Magda company in her lonely tower. Locked up to protect her “from marrying the wrong man,” Magda is thrilled when her wondrous new friend flies her across the world to see animals of the jungle, the pyramids of Egypt and the penguins in the South Pole. Returning from one of these trips they swoop down to save a young scribe falling off a cliff. The princess loves his books; the scribe loves her eyes. Jealous and worried, the Ziz soon separates them, which makes the Princess enormously unhappy. But the King, seeking happiness for his child, approves the relationship and unites them in marriage. Kahn’s watercolor scenes, which feature a goofy, green-eyed bird with a bright yellow body and oversized red wings, drive the humor in this adequate tale. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8225-7377-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2008

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This magic feels true.

THE WISHING TREE

Theo’s wish for a more-joyful Christmas is fulfilled in unexpected ways.

With Christmas only three days away, the street outside Theo’s window is quiet and dark. Theo decides that instead of asking Santa for toys, he has just one wish for Christmas. Crumpling up his original list, he writes a new letter, and while he sleeps, the wind pulls his letter out the window and through the air all the way to the North Pole. The next day, Theo is out playing in the snow when he finds a huge pine tree with the words Property of the North Pole carved into its trunk. From the tree falls a letter: “Bring joy.” Later that day, Theo decides to decorate the town. The next day, another message from the tree says, “Find harmony.” That night, he decides to go caroling and is joined by neighbor after neighbor. On Christmas, his parents have to work, and Theo is sad. His grandma decides that maybe the neighbors will want to brighten his Christmas as he brightened theirs. They do, and by night’s end, Theo introduces them all to the wishing tree. Theo, who, like his whole family, presents Black, is a sweet, sympathetic protagonist readers will feel for as he seeks to make Christmas special. The example of individual joy being tied to community joy is timely and heartfelt. The blue-and-gold–themed illustrations bring the season to life. A dozen punch-out cards are included for the book’s purchasers to make their own wishing trees. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This magic feels true. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-274716-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Both a celebration of and an introduction to the mosque.

IN MY MOSQUE

Children welcome readers into different mosques to learn about varying activities and services that take place in them.

Though many different mosques and children are depicted, the voices call readers’ attention to the similarities among Muslim communities around the world. Yuksel highlights the community eating together; women, men, and children sharing the space and praying together; grandfathers thumbing their tasbihs; grandmothers reading the Quran; aunties giving hugs; children playing. The effect is to demonstrate that a mosque is more than just a building but rather a space where children and adults come together to pray, give, learn, and play. Joyful characters describe what happens in simple, poetic language: “In my mosque, the muezzin’s call to prayer echoes in the air. I stand shoulder to shoulder with my friends, linked like one long chain.” Aly’s bright illustrations pair well with Yuksel’s words, ending with a beautiful spread of children staring at readers, waving and extending their hands: “You are welcome in my mosque.” The variety of mosques included suggests that each has its own unique architecture, but repeating geometric patterns and shapes underscore that there are similarities too. The author’s note guides readers to her website for more information on the mosques depicted; they are not labeled, which is frustrating since the backmatter also includes a tantalizing list of famous mosques on every continent except Antarctica.

Both a celebration of and an introduction to the mosque. (glossary, sources) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-297870-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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