THE CREATION

In the spirit of Johnson's poetic voice, which Ransome describes as ``influenced by the...imagery of nineteenth-century African-American plantation preachers,'' the romantic, sun- dappled paintings here are more literal than Carla Golembe's striking, boldly stylized art for her edition (1993) of this splendid verse retelling by the well-loved poet. Pictures of an African-American preacher and his rapt audience of children alternate with handsome full-bleed spreads depicting the six days of creation: what might be the Grand Canyon; a stream rushing through rocks; a blossom-strewn forest floor beside the stream; and so on, to a dark man among the flowers. Rhythmic friezes of animals adorn the text pages of this carefully structured, realistic presentation. The style could hardly be more different from Golembe's: less provocative, more conventional and accessible, yet also painted with real artistry and conviction. It's a measure of the poem's quality that it inspires such a rich variety of responses. (Poetry/Picture book. 4+)

Pub Date: April 15, 1994

ISBN: 0-8234-1069-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1994

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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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A powerful blend of important themes and everyday triumphs and sorrows.

HOW TO FIND WHAT YOU'RE NOT LOOKING FOR

It’s 1967, and Ariel Goldberg’s adored older sister, Leah, has fallen for Raj, an immigrant college student from Bombay.

Their parents disapprove: To them, it’s bad enough that Leah wants to marry someone of a different race, even worse that he isn’t Jewish. After Leah elopes without even a letter to her sister, 11-year-old Ari is forced to reckon with a new understanding of her place within her family as the daughter who is now expected to take on the good-girl role. But that’s not her only problem. Her parents dreamed of a better life, yet they can’t afford to keep their beloved bakery running. Her mother sees Ari’s struggle with dysgraphia as laziness, and as the only Jewish kid in sixth grade, she faces antisemitism that goes unrecognized by her teachers. Her strained relationship with her parents and their beliefs rings heartbreakingly true alongside her struggle to find her own voice through poetry. As she and her best friend set out in secret to find Leah and repair her broken family, Ari must decide what she believes is right in an increasingly tumultuous world. Hiranandani captures with great nuance the details of Ari’s life. Sacrifices in the service of assimilation, the lies we tell the people we love most, and how we go about forgiving them are given specificity in Ari’s matter-of-fact and observant second-person present point of view.

A powerful blend of important themes and everyday triumphs and sorrows. (author's note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-55503-2

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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