A lovely peek into life in Israel.



One noise after another wakes Mrs. Strauss from a sound sleep in her small Israeli village.

The rooster’s loud crow wakes her, and then the cat’s meow disturbs her as she tries to fall back to sleep. A mosquito buzzes, while the rooster and cat keep up their calls. “Sheket,” she yells out her window, “Quiet.” Music from the grocer’s radio, the toot-toot of the train whistle, even the swish of the street sweeper all add to the cacophony. Mrs. Strauss pulls her pillow over her head, creating a cool spot to block the harsh sunlight. She falls asleep and dreams of coolness and shade. A different sound awakens her, and this one is heartily welcome; it is the geshem, the heavy rain that will reawaken the parched land. It’s a much longed-for wet day. Readers might wonder why the title is so specific in naming the setting of the tale. But Israel’s climate is really the main character, with long scorching dry spells and that first heavy rain everyone hopes and prays for, and MacLeod weaves hints about the theme in the distress of the animals and the hot, strong sunlight that shines in the window. Beeke’s very bright paintings show the village in the sun’s glare and the rain’s softer light and Mrs. Strauss’ every reaction (and her immovable blue hair, which sits atop her tan face).

A lovely peek into life in Israel. (note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68115-539-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The lofty symbolism of this allegorical tale may be above the comprehension level of literal-minded children.


This Christian allegory presents a little bear who asks an all-powerful lion king for his help in solving the problems of other bear cubs.

Tucker is a cub who likes to help others, but his young friends have all sorts of deep-seated troubles, ranging from illness to hunger to aggression. So Tucker sets off on a journey to see the king, who lives in a hilltop castle “where the door was always open.” The bear cub wants to take along a “perfect gift” for the king to elicit his help, and in familiar fashion, he meets animals along the way who give him additional information about the king and items to take along as presents. Tucker takes all these items to the lion, who explains that as king he can fulfill these roles because he is a good father. The king returns to the town with Tucker, magically solving everyone’s problems with unexplained help and lots of love. Tucker concludes that the king is a “Good Good Father,” and Tucker’s seeking his help was the perfect gift. God is not mentioned in the text, and younger children will need an adult’s assistance in understanding the symbolic meaning of the lion and his multifaceted powers. Pleasant though unnuanced watercolor-and-pencil illustrations of appealing animal characters add some spunk to the story.

The lofty symbolism of this allegorical tale may be above the comprehension level of literal-minded children. (authors’ note) (Picture book/religion. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7180-8695-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet