Slick: clearly calculated to hit a marketing sweet spot

READ REVIEW

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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With this ahistorical interpretation, this book shows a disregard for both free will and the gradual maturation of talents...

THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU

God’s address to the Hebrew exiles from the Old Testament book of Jeremiah is repurposed in this cheery picture book that emphasizes children’s future careers.

In this decontextualized interpretation of the well-known verse, God narrates the text in a first-person, chatty style (“Hey, YOU!”) that urges children to discover their particular purposes in life, specifically related to career choices (“what I CREATED YOU to do”). The story begins with a fantastical factory in the clouds, controlled by engineers, and the disembodied hand of God pointing at readers. A sort of assembly line with seated, staring children scrolls across the bottoms of the pages, with the boys and girls receiving their professional wardrobes from robotic arms. Above the conveyor belt, smiling children are shown in various jobs wearing relevant career attire, with careful inclusion of children of many ethnicities as well as girls in science, medical, and construction jobs. While the text states that children will “find that one thing / that you love the most,” its overall thrust when combined with the illustrations implies that God chooses a profession for each child at birth and that children should be working toward that profession from an early age. The concluding page urges children to stop reading the book and “go out and find my big plans for YOU.” Readers with unemployed parents or parents toiling in miserable, unhappy jobs will be forgiven for wondering just where in God’s plan their families fit.

With this ahistorical interpretation, this book shows a disregard for both free will and the gradual maturation of talents and personalities. (Picture book/religion. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-310-72410-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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A fun story to share at Hanukkah—especially with the oil in the pan hot and ready for those yummy, crispy, fried holiday...

WAY TOO MANY LATKES

A HANUKKAH IN CHELM

Oy! Only in Chelm could there be such a problem—and such a solution.

Chelm, that beloved but very foolish village of old-time Eastern European Jewry, has a problem as the first day of Hanukkah approaches. Faigel makes the best latkes (potato pancakes fried in oil). But what is the recipe? She cannot remember. Her husband has the answer—or, rather, he knows whom to consult for the answer: the rabbi, who is the wisest man in the entire town. How many potatoes? All of them, says the rabbi. How many eggs? All of them, says the rabbi. How many onions? All of them, says the rabbi. How many mouths to eat all those mounds of deliciousness? All the villagers, says the rabbi. Glaser’s riff on a holiday tradition is told with lots of dialogue and the necessary understatement so important to Chelm tales. Zolotic’s flat, digitally composed illustrations, based on his background in animation, portray expressively bewildered and hungry white Chelmites with googly eyes and ultimately happy faces.

A fun story to share at Hanukkah—especially with the oil in the pan hot and ready for those yummy, crispy, fried holiday treats. (note on Chelm stories) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-2092-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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