THE HILL by Jessica Crews

THE HILL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A tiny ant teaches a bullying giraffe to see the error of his ways in this Christian-themed picture book for young children.

As Crews’ (Thanksgiving Story, 2016, etc.) story begins, Grant, an ant, is putting the finishing touches on his anthill when Jermaine, a giraffe, flattens it, laughing at “puny” Grant standing amid the wreckage. At the next anthill, Grant’s “mean, little brother” marshals his fellow ants and launches a biting attack on the bully. Jermaine pleads “for them to quit, / but the longer he begged, the more they bit.” (The rhyme scheme is appropriately bouncy, but some stanzas need more polish, such as “Jermaine stomped about and flattened the anthill. / He couldn’t have cared less how it made Grant feel.”) The giraffe is grateful when Grant, who “knew that God said revenge was a sin,” stops the attack. The stern tenor and sudden appearance of a Christian reference are somewhat jarring. However, Potts’ (Wiklin Tales: Tip’s Tantrum, 2016, etc.) double-page–spread illustrations in pencil and watercolor give Crews’ message a needed comic touch, and their color palette—primarily orange, brown, and yellow—nicely suggests the book’s African-plains setting. The last pages include brief, real-life giraffe and ant facts.

This story’s rhyme scheme needs refining, but the book effectively delivers a message of forgiveness.

Pub Date: Aug. 4th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-63177-158-3
Page count: 38pp
Publisher: Mascot Books
Program: Kirkus Indie
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