LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH

AND LET IT BEGIN WITH ME

A popular peace anthem makes its picture-book debut, with simple lyrics celebrating the hope for a better world. In 1955, a group of 180 teenagers linked arms and hearts and sang this song. It has since been recorded by numerous artists, strummed around campfires and used as a theme for UNICEF. In radiant, familiar Diaz style, peace symbols from around the world illuminate the text. Glowing white doves settle next to curling tufts of grass, while fiery red cranes fly overhead. Teaching world peace is inarguably worthwhile. But the purpose of this song isn’t to explain peace; instead, it is a call to individual action. The words “let it begin with me” are powerful—even children can do their part. Will the song resonate as much with young readers as it did with the original teenagers who first banded together? Likely not. But kids play a vital role in changing this world. The more quickly they learn that everyone can make a difference, the better. (CD, sheet music, history of song and composers, list of peace symbols) (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-58246-285-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2009

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A Christmas cozy, read straight or bit by bit through the season.

HOW WINSTON DELIVERED CHRISTMAS

Neither snow nor rain nor mountains of yummy cheese stay the carrier of a letter to Santa.

So carelessly does 8-year-old Oliver stuff his very late letter to Santa into the mailbox that it falls out behind his back—leaving Winston, a “small, grubby white mouse” with an outsized heart, determined to deliver it personally though he has no idea where to go. Smith presents Winston’s Christmas Eve trek in 24 minichapters, each assigned a December “day” and all closing with both twists or cliffhangers and instructions (mostly verbal, unfortunately) for one or more holiday-themed recipes or craft projects. Though he veers occasionally into preciosity (Winston “tried to ignore the grumbling, rumbling noises coming from his tummy”), he also infuses his holiday tale with worthy values. Occasional snowy scenes have an Edwardian look appropriate to the general tone, with a white default in place but a few dark-skinned figures in view. Less-crafty children will struggle with the scantly illustrated projects, which run from paper snowflakes to clothespin dolls and Christmas crackers with or without “snaps,” but lyrics to chestnuts like “The 12 Days of Christmas” (and “Jingle Bells,” which is not a Christmas song, but never mind) at the end invite everyone to sing along.

A Christmas cozy, read straight or bit by bit through the season. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68412-983-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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GINGERBREAD BABY

In a snowbound Swiss village, Matti figures it’s a good day to make a gingerbread man. He and his mother mix a batch of gingerbread and tuck it in the oven, but Matti is too impatient to wait ten minutes without peeking. When he opens the door, out pops a gingerbread baby, taunting the familiar refrain, “Catch me if you can.” The brash imp races all over the village, teasing animals and tweaking the noses of the citizenry, until there is a fair crowd on his heels intent on giving him a drubbing. Always he remains just out of reach as he races over the winterscape, beautifully rendered with elegant countryside and architectural details by Brett. All the while, Matti is busy back home, building a gingerbread house to entice the nervy cookie to safe harbor. It works, too, and Matti is able to spirit the gingerbread baby away from the mob. The mischief-maker may be a brat, but the gingerbread cookie is also the agent of good cheer, and Brett allows that spirit to run free on these pages. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23444-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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