The forced rhymes will be too painful for some readers, but very patient children will find it hilarious and surreal and a...

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A HOOPOE SAYS OOP!

ANIMALS OF ISRAEL

Any author can find a rhyme for “cow” or “moo.”

By the time they start school, most kids have read dozens of books about farm animals, but they may not have seen an ibex or a hyrax or a hoopoe. This board book would make an excellent compendium for children who want to be zoologists, but it creates a huge challenge for the author: Almost nothing rhymes with “ibex.” She goes out of her way to work around the problem: “Ibexes on crater ledges / Call out ‘Maa!’ and walk the edges.” Every couplet is awkward, but every new animal is surprising, and Kuman finds unexpected ways of painting them. Her bats are shaped like Chinese dumplings, and her camels are an unexpected assortment of geometric objects: a mountain peak perched atop a tiny rectangle underneath a slightly lopsided eggplant. The book also provides a variety of sound effects. The last two pages are crammed with “chirrup”s and “urr”s and “oop”s. It feels as though an entire encyclopedia of animals—a very odd one—has been squeezed into 12 pages. The book also gives kids an incentive to travel. The cover copy says, “Meet some of Israel’s unique animals.”

The forced rhymes will be too painful for some readers, but very patient children will find it hilarious and surreal and a little startling, and they’ll learn years’ worth of animal facts before they reach kindergarten. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-0049-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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This kind and gentle introduction features endearing art and clunky rhymes.

BIBLE STORIES FOR LITTLE HEARTS

Five Bible stories are told in 10 short pages and illustrated in Magsamen’s characteristic faux appliqué style.

Each double-page spread is rendered on narrow board pages and depicts a new Bible story or parable. The top half of the spread shares a summary of the story told in forced rhyme hand-lettered in white. The bottom half presents a brightly-colored illustration of the story employing cartoon animals and humans with stitch-work borders. A heart in the bottom right or left corner is emblazoned with text that presents the key lesson of the story. “The Parable of the Lost Sheep,” for instance, shows a flock of white sheep with one black sheep in the middle. Written on the heart is the message: “This story reminds us that everyone is important.” Some artistic license is taken. The Creation story shows two children in modern dress, one with a beige complexion and brown pigtails and another with straight black hair and brown skin, enjoying the natural world. (“God made everything for you and me / because He loves us endlessly!”) In the Jonah story, a smiling man with a medium brown skin tone happily topples into the whale’s mouth. Noah’s Ark is populated by parent-child animal dyads rather than male and female pairings. The text repeatedly emphasizes God’s love for readers and employs male pronouns for God.

This kind and gentle introduction features endearing art and clunky rhymes. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-58942-9

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A mostly effective translation of the popular parable.

DAVID AND THE LOST LAMB

Little David saves the day.

The biblical story of the shepherd in search of his lost sheep comes to life in this board book. Not to be confused with King David of the Old Testament, this young David proudly watches over his father’s flock each day. One morning a sheep in David’s flock wanders off, and David must chase off a hungry lion in order to save it. The story is originally told by Jesus in the Bible, but that framing device is removed here. In fact, nearly all religious allusion is absent save for the mention of a “nighttime prayer” at book’s end. Told in rhyming couplets, the story moves quickly and efficiently, though sometimes the text stretches the bounds of sense to achieve the rhyme: “Black, white, spotted, baa and bleat. / David loves the little sheep.” The illustrations employ a green, blue, and orange color palette and scratchy, thin lines that give them a busier feel than the round, cuddly, thick-lined figures little readers are accustomed to in board books. David’s father wears a kaffiyeh, and David has brown hair and pale brown skin.

A mostly effective translation of the popular parable. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-8590-1

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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