TWO BY TWO

The endless flow of new versions of the Noah’s Ark story continues without ebb, but this entry follows a different course than most. This version is told simply, with few words, and never mentions Noah or the Ark or even God. The succinct text focuses on the animals themselves, who seek shelter from the great storm within the Ark, which gradually takes shape on the beach as the storm is approaching. Noah is shown peeking out of the Ark windows and in one full illustration with his wife, but the gathering storm and the gathering animals are the main focus. The rather abrupt conclusion shows the animals disembarking into a new world of “light and warmth and freedom” with no humans in sight. Winch’s oil paintings are highly detailed and creative in both perspective and composition, though sharp-eyed children are bound to notice that several animals on the cover and within aren’t paired up “two by two.” (author’s note) (Picture book/nonfiction. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8234-1840-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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UNDER THE RAMADAN MOON

This book for the very young adds to the growing number of books on Islamic fasts and feasts, but in its simplicity it doesn’t supply very much in the way of information. The text starts off rhythmically: “We wait for the moon / we watch for the moon / we watch for the Ramadan moon,” but make little sense when it states “We fast by day / under the moon…” and becomes downright pedestrian as “We speak kind words / and stop bad habits / under the moon.” The pastels lend a special softness and serenity, glowing with intensity when it is really night and the moon is shown in its different phases throughout the lunar month of Ramadan, and the people depicted show some of the diversity of the American Muslim community. Most young readers, however, won’t understand that the people in the book are living through a month of fasting each day, and even the author’s note doesn’t provide adults with enough details to expand upon the text. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8304-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2008

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A likely choice for those seeking a children’s Christian Bible.

GOD GAVE US THE BIBLE

45 FAVORITE STORIES FOR LITTLE ONES

A children’s storybook features 45 foundational stories from the Christian Bible.

A young polar bear is having a sleepover with several friends of different species. After a fun day, Mama Bear calls the youngsters in for storytime. Explaining that the Bible “is the story God gave us,” she proceeds to tell stories from the Old and New Testaments. She begins with the Creation story in Genesis, moves on through Exodus, and concludes with Paul’s missionary work. The anthropomorphic little animals are an effective feature of the book, as they frequently comment on the stories and question Mama Bear. Why didn’t God simply put a fence around the tree with the forbidden fruit? wonders Little Otter, giving Mama Bear the opportunity to teach the little ones about free will and choosing to love and obey God. Little Cub wants to know how Noah was able to find land with the Ark, and Mama Bear explains about having faith that God will steer you correctly. The questions and the wonderment the little animals express well reflect the reactions and inquiries many children are likely to have. The illustrations are warm and colorful throughout, with interesting details to catch readers’ attention. Little Cub and his friends are particularly well drawn, combining both realistic animal details with human expressions. Characters in the Bible stories are olive-skinned humans.

A likely choice for those seeking a children’s Christian Bible. (Religion. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-9190-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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