Slick: clearly calculated to hit a marketing sweet spot

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A ROYAL EASTER STORY

From the Princess Parables series

This seasonal entry in the Princess Parables series finds the five princess siblings traveling to an Easter festival, rescuing a lost little girl on the way.

The princesses, who seem to be Disney-derived teens in flowing gowns and jeweled tiaras, are loading up their horse-drawn wagon in preparation for their journey to another town for an Easter celebration. The princesses are joined by their new neighbors, a group of five brothers who happen to be knights. The two groups of siblings decide to race to the festival by different routes, but the princesses are delayed by a tea party, their rescue of a lost child, and a sudden violent storm. The princesses lose the race but receive praise from their father for putting the lost child’s welfare above winning. The sisters pray for guidance during the thunderstorm, and the king connects his gifts of Easter baskets to his daughters to gifts from heaven, specifically Jesus. A concluding note interprets the story with further Christian symbolism and relates the plot to a relevant, well-known New Testament Bible verse from the book of Luke. Though the writing is stilted, the illustrations commercial in style, and the kingdom evidently an all-white one, princesses enjoy proliferating popularity, and there are very few Easter stories with explicitly religious content in print.

Slick: clearly calculated to hit a marketing sweet spot . (Religion/picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-310-74870-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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This Mother’s Day tale is rather limited in its audience to those who can afford fancy brunch after their own religious...

THE BERENSTAIN BEARS MOTHER'S DAY BLESSINGS

From the Berenstain Bears series

The Berenstains’ son adds a Mother’s Day entry to the series, continuing the adventures of the Bear family with a religious focus.

Brother, Sister, and Honey want to do something special for Mama for Mother’s Day, and Papa helps them think of just the thing—brunch at the Bear Country Inn after church—and they can invite Grizzly Gran, too. On the ride to church, Mama points out all the ways other families are celebrating their own mothers even though these community helpers are working on the holiday: Officer Marguerite’s children bring her flowers as she directs traffic, and Mrs. Ben’s children are pitching in with farm chores. Indeed, the trip to church is eye-opening for the cubs, who never realized that some of their neighbors even had children. During the church service, Preacher Brown thanks God for the gift of mothers and quotes the Bible: “Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard planted by the water; it was fruitful and full of branches.” While the illustrations are the same as ever (the smiling bears haven’t aged a bit!), the series seems to have moved away from addressing a variety of families.

This Mother’s Day tale is rather limited in its audience to those who can afford fancy brunch after their own religious services, contrary to its apparent message that being together is all that matters. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-310-74869-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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Low-key and gentle; a book to be thankful for.

THANKFUL

Spinelli lists many things for which people are thankful.

The pictures tell a pleasing counterpoint to this deceptively simple rhyme. It begins “The waitress is thankful for comfortable shoes. / The local reporter, for interesting news.” The pictures show a little girl playing waitress to her brother, who playacts the reporter. The news gets interesting when the girl trips over the (omnipresent) cat. As the poem continues, the Caucasian children and their parents embody all the different roles and occupations it mentions. The poet is thankful for rhyme and the artist, for light and color, although the girl dancer is not particularly pleased with her brother’s painterly rendition of her visual art. The cozy hotel for the traveler is a tent for the siblings in the backyard, and the grateful chef is their father in the kitchen. Even the pastor (the only character mentioned who is not a family member) is grateful, as he is presented with a posy from the girl, for “God’s loving word.” The line is squiggly and energetic, with pastel color and figures that float over white space or have whole rooms or gardens to roam in. Both children, grateful for morning stories, appear in a double-page spread surrounded by books and stuffed toys as their mother reads to them—an image that begs to be a poster.

Low-key and gentle; a book to be thankful for. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-310-00088-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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