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Heartfelt, if florid.

An imagined tale of Francis of Assisi as a boy doing good foreshadows later saintly activities.

His Nonna, his Babbo, his Mamma and the maid are all still asleep, but Francis moves quietly in the dawn. Everyone is tired from staying up the night before, worrying about the she-wolf threatening the town and the livestock. When Francis goes out to tend the animals, he sees the shadow of the wolf. He brings the wolf an egg and some goat’s milk in a bowl, and she departs, leaving child and farm animals in peace, a presaging of the older Francis’ actions in the legend of the Wolf of Gubbio. Nobisso laces her telling with a surfeit of modifiers. The wolf has “intelligent eyes,” a “magnificent head” and “muscular ears nimbly twitching.” Hyde’s oil paintings are beautiful in a soft-focus kind of way, although they reflect a more High Renaissance style than Francis’ late-12th-century boyhood. Full-page images are bordered with leaves, flowers and geometric patterns, and the palette is ash rose, stone and gold. Nobisso’s dedication is in Italian, to her aunts and cousins, and while the few Italian words in the text are fairly clear, it is too bad she does not note that Nonna is Grandma and Babbo is Daddy.

Heartfelt, if florid.   (creators’ note, author’s postscript) (Picture book/religion. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-940112-20-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gingerbread House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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An empowering and important tale of bravery.

A Black Muslim boy must summon the courage to ask for a place at school to pray.

It’s Muhammad’s seventh birthday, and Daddy has a special gift for him: a prayer rug that’s royal blue with gold stitching and that smells of incense. Muhammad is now old enough to independently offer the five Muslim daily prayers, or salat. He packs the rug before school the next day and plans to find a private place for salat. But asking his teacher for help feels harder than anticipated—especially after seeing mean passersby jeer at his father, who prays in the open while working as an ice cream truck driver. To claim a space, Muhammad will need to be brave, just like his joyful, hardworking Daddy. Once again, Thompkins-Bigelow (Mommy’s Khimar, 2018) has written a beautiful, positive, and welcome portrayal of Black Muslim families. Her melodic writing captures Muhammad’s feelings as he works to find his voice and advocate for his needs. Aly’s playful, energetic illustrations offer a nod to Islamic art traditions and work in tandem with the text to give readers a glimpse into Muhammad’s hopes, fears, and growth. An author’s note explains what salat is, the times and names of the prayers, how it is performed, and other relevant terms used within the text. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An empowering and important tale of bravery. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 6, 2023

ISBN: 9781984848093

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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The title says it all: When Baxter hears about Shabbat, when “the candles gleam and glow and dance while our sweetest voices lift in song,” from an old man at the bus stop, of course he wants to be part of it—but how? The young man he meets the next week tells him he can’t: “You’re not kosher!” In pursuit of kosher, Baxter eats kosher dills, pigs out on challah and teaches himself to moo. Finally a kindly rabbi leads him to the truth: “But,” she asks, “why would you want to get eaten?” She goes on, however, to explain that “[i]t is a mitzvah to welcome a stranger,” so Baxter gets to enjoy Shabbat after all. Goldin’s photo-collage illustrations present a suitably goofy-but-sincere cartoon pig dressed in a plaid button-down Oxford shirt and locate him in an urban neighborhood that features an imposing synagogue and a kosher deli. While Snyder's glossary glides a little irresponsibly over the precise meaning of "kosher," this will nevertheless find plenty of use in Jewish homes, particularly among families in which one parent is not Jewish. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-58246-315-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2010

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