PRINCESS GRACE AND THE LITTLE LOST KITTEN

From the Princess Parables series

Blatantly Disney-esque young princesses with flowing hair, huge eyes and fancy gowns are the linchpin of this new series designed to make the parables Jesus used understandable to today’s little girls. Each story in the series focuses on one princess from a family of five sisters (Grace, Joy, Faith, Charity and Hope) being raised by their understanding and indulgent single father, the king. In this story, Princess Grace and her sisters adopt five kittens, and Grace’s chosen kitten runs away and is later found hiding in the woods. There isn’t much plot, though the long-for-the-format text is told in a relentlessly high-energy if stilted manner. Interestingly, there is no religious content to the story other than a reference to a whispered prayer just before Princess Grace finds her kitten. A concluding page speaking directly to the reader explains the connection between the story and the parable of the lost sheep and is followed by the relevant text from the Book of Matthew in the New Testament. The second title in the Princess Parables series is Princess Joy’s Birthday Blessings. Clearly aimed right at the marketing sweet spot, the presentation, with its emphasis on frills and flounces, seems sadly at odds with the homespun simplicity of its putative foundation. (Picture book/religion. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-310-71640-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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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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The now-classic tale’s humor still fosters eye-rolling laughter, with Wohnoutka’s illustrations as rib-tickling complement.

HANUKKAH BEAR

A well-used trope of misidentification allows a village elder to innocently open her home to a possible predator with humorous, even endearing results.

Despite her advanced age of 97 and her poor eyesight and hearing, Bubba Brayna “still [makes] the best potato latkes in the village.” When Old Bear is awakened from his winter sleep by the savory aroma of frying latkes and comes to her door, Bubba Brayna invites him in for a fresh batch, mistaking the bear’s rotund girth and bushy face for the heavy-set bearded rabbi’s. Heading straight for the kitchen, the growling bear is encouraged to play dreidel with nuts he chooses to eat, then devours all the latkes with jam like any hungry bear would. Sleepy and satisfied, he leaves with a gift of a red woolen scarf around his neck. After some investigating by the crowd that has gathered at Bubba Brayna’s door, which includes the actual rabbi, a new batch of potatoes are brought from the cellar, and with everyone’s help, Bubba Brayna hosts a happy Hanukkah. This newly illustrated version of The Chanukkah Guest, illustrated by Giora Carmi (1990), is a softer rendition, with acrylic paints and curved lines in tints of yellow, brown and green for warm, earthy atmosphere.

The now-classic tale’s humor still fosters eye-rolling laughter, with Wohnoutka’s illustrations as rib-tickling complement. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2855-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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