These Christian-rooted life lessons are lighthearted, age-appropriate, and toddler-friendly.


From the Frolic series

Based on verses from the Gospel of Matthew (25:34-40), various animals model kindness and generosity.

“God shows us lots of ways to help. Look around and see.” So goes the repeated text. In the pastel cartoon art, a dove gives a thirsty lamb a drink, a dog gives the dove a blanket, a hedgehog shares its snack, and a goat brings the lonely hedgehog a bouquet. One of the last pages reviews the good deeds and offers a quick prayer of gratitude. The final double-page spread, headed “Helping Your Child Take First Steps in Faith,” provides developmentally appropriate guidance for parents on encouraging helpfulness and making faith connections, along with reinforcing activities. The companion title, Clap, Sing, Dance!, faithfully follows the series formula using the same quintet of critters. Inspired by Psalm 104:33 (“I will sing to the Lord as long as I live…”), this title promotes active expressions of joy. Encouraging toddlers to do the same, the sheep makes a joyful noise, the dog does “a happy dance,” the hedgehog claps its hands, the goat stomps its feet, and the dove, despite the fact that it doesn’t have any, waves its “arms.” The offering ends with similar parental backmatter.

These Christian-rooted life lessons are lighthearted, age-appropriate, and toddler-friendly. (Board book. 18 mos.-4)

Pub Date: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5064-1784-4

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Sparkhouse

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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A treasure that reaches far beyond the traditional board-book audience.


From the Celebrate the World series

This festive board book for toddlers, preschoolers, and early-elementary–age children introduces the practices of and meaning behind Ramadan, the Muslims’ month of fasting.

From the timing of the month around the crescent moon to the physical practice of fasting during daylight hours, this sturdy little book is packed with almost everything young children should know about Ramadan. Many nonfiction books about Ramadan explain the practices, but few give both facts and feelings as this book does, which is appropriate for both Muslims and non-Muslims. Eliot evokes the spirit of Ramadan, “a time to reflect on ourselves, to be thankful, and to help others.” The decorative illustrations show families diverse in skin color, hair texture, and attire as they celebrate, work, play, and pray in societies around the world. The vibrant primary colors pop against blue and orange backgrounds, and the floral patterns and the stylized representation of the natural world strengthen this volume. Only the reasons for fasting are a bit watered down for a general audience: “We fast because we know that there are many people who are less fortunate than us. We appreciate how lucky we are.” This is more a benefit of fasting than the religious reason, but it is easily understood. The book ends with the same bittersweet emotions felt at the end of Ramadan: “We will remember to love our family, pray, and give back to others all throughout the year.”

A treasure that reaches far beyond the traditional board-book audience. (Board book. 2-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0635-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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The true meaning of the holiday season shines here.


Kids teach a valuable lesson about community spirit.

A city block is ablaze with red and green lights for Christmas; one house glows blue and white for Hanukkah. This is where Isaac, a Jewish boy, lives, across the street from best friend Teresa, excitedly preparing for Christmas. They love lighting up their homes in holiday colors. After an antisemitic bigot smashes a window in Isaac’s house, Isaac relights the menorah the next night, knowing if his family doesn’t, it means hiding their Jewishness, which doesn’t “feel right.” Artistic Teresa supports Isaac by drawing a menorah, inscribed to her friend, and placing the picture in her window. What occurs subsequently is a remarkable demonstration of community solidarity for Isaac and his family from everyone, including the media. Galvanized into defiant action against hate, thousands of townspeople display menorahs in windows in residences and public buildings. This quiet, uplifting tale is inspired by an incident that occurred in Billings, Montana, in 1993. Readers will feel heartened at children’s power to influence others to stand up for justice and defeat vile prejudice. The colorful illustrations, rendered digitally with brushes of the artist’s devising, resemble scratch art. Isaac and Teresa are White, and there is some racial diversity among the townspeople; one child is depicted in a wheelchair. An author’s note provides information about the actual event.

The true meaning of the holiday season shines here. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64614-087-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Levine Querido

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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