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

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I CAN HELP

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.

RAMADAN

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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In a few pictures, readers will have to search for Buddha…delightfully, it’s Where’s Waldo with a spiritual spin.

WHERE'S BUDDHA?

Where is the Buddha in this modern world?

“Buddha is up high,” walking through the mountains and gazing at the birds. “Buddha is down below,” in a submarine, with the whales and fishes. “Buddha is watching the soft winter snow,” pausing on a bridge to watch a crane dance. He sits in the sun and shines with the moon and walks with the elephants in the warm showers of the monsoon. He “is everywhere you go.” He is in “the cozy house” and the wide open spaces. He is still and silent, big and small, near and far. Ware’s picture-book representation of the belief that Buddha’s nature is in all of creation is perfect for Buddhist families or others open to the teachings of the Buddhist faith. The jewel-toned, stylized, cartoon illustrations of a tiny smiling Indian Buddha in saffron robes effectively extend the text. In one double-page spread, children of many races hold hands or stand by all types of animals; in another, golden heart-lights shine from the silhouettes of humans and animals in a cityscape. As an added bonus, aside from introducing the concept of interconnectedness, the simple rhyming text presents pairs of opposites: Buddha in a biplane “goes fast,” Buddha “goes slow” along a garden path beneath the stylized blossoms of, perhaps, a Bodhi tree. The diminutive trim size emphasizes its friendly approachability.

In a few pictures, readers will have to search for Buddha…delightfully, it’s Where’s Waldo with a spiritual spin. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61180-587-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bala Kids/Shambhala

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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