A lovely backstory for an obscure biblical personality.


Yolen puts Noah’s wife center stage in this reimagining of the biblical flood narrative.

Kindly, gentle Mrs. Noah, her long white hair in a half-up bun, nurses injured birds of all kinds back to health. Doves, which remind her of her grandmother (presumably deceased) “at night, bending over to pray in her soft, gray clothing,” are her favorite. When it begins to rain interminably, Mrs. Noah struggles to keep her bird cages above the rising floodwaters. “Do not worry,” Mr. Noah reassures her, “God has told me what to do.” With his sons and daughters, he builds a “huge boat” (the sudden absence of rain in the illustration showing the boat’s construction may confuse some readers) that spares his family and a male and female of each animal species from the world-engulfing flood. When the rain stops, Mrs. Noah sends out her birds to find evidence of dry land. The eagles, ravens, terns, and gulls all fail to return, but her doves come back bearing bits of vegetation in their beaks, heralding the deluge’s end. Lyrical imagery suffuses the lexically stimulating text: Raindrops are “small drips as perfect as pearls,” and rain showers are “cloudbursts and gully washers.” Massari’s trademark style incorporates various textures and elaborate patterns recalling the ornamentations of sacral architecture. The animals’ droll facial expressions (Noah’s too, at times) sometimes give them a bored look. The characters’ light-brown skin and clothing cue them as Middle Eastern. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A lovely backstory for an obscure biblical personality. (Religious picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72842-426-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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An uplifting, rhyming picture book offering food for the soul.


A mother teaches her daughter a special recipe to help feed her faith.

Layla, a young, brown-skinned girl, is ready yet nervous for her first day of school. Seeking a confidence boost, she goes in search of her mom—“’Cause mamas can help / when you need love and calm”—and finds her in the kitchen. “Hey, sweetie, sit here / Let’s make a quick meal / that’s full of good things / to help how you feel,” her mother suggests and fishes out a recipe book. The recipe for the meal includes many ingredients, but none of them are tangible. Instead, courage, “a spoonful of faith,” “dashes of kindness,” “handfuls of hope,” “pinches of prayers,” and warm hugs go into the mixing bowl. To concretize these virtues, the artwork uses a visual motif of hearts and flowers. Once the meal is ready, Layla hesitantly looks into the bowl, unsure what to make of the imaginary repast, but a word of wisdom from Mama helps her realize the true source of her emotional sustenance and strength. The illustrations, created using digital watercolor, pencil, and gouache brushes in Procreate, are soothing, with soft pastel colors. While God is mentioned, there are no references to any specific religion.

An uplifting, rhyming picture book offering food for the soul. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-301781-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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With a universal message of love and community, this book offers a beautiful representation of a too-often-overlooked...


From a debut author-and-illustrator team comes a glimpse into a young American Muslim girl’s family and community as she walks around in “Mommy’s khimar,” or headscarf.

The star of this sunny picture book is a young girl who finds joy in wearing her mother’s khimar, imagining it transforms her into a queen, a star, a mama bird, a superhero. At the core of the story is the love between the girl and her mother. The family appears to be African-American, with brown skin and textured hair. The girl’s braids and twists “form a bumpy crown” under the khimar, which smells of coconut oil and cocoa butter. Adults in her life delight in her appearance in the bright yellow khimar, including her Arabic teacher at the mosque, who calls it a “hijab,” and her grandmother, who visits after Sunday service and calls out “Sweet Jesus!” as she scoops her granddaughter into her arms. Her grandmother is, apparently, a Christian, but “We are a family and we love each other just the same.” The illustrations feature soft pastel colors with dynamic lines and gently patterned backgrounds that complement the story’s joyful tone. The words are often lyrical, and the story artfully includes many cultural details that will delight readers who share the cheerful protagonist’s culture and enlighten readers who don’t.

With a universal message of love and community, this book offers a beautiful representation of a too-often-overlooked cultural group . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0059-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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