The heavy-hoofed message stomps any legitimate sense of serenity.

READ REVIEW

FIELD OF PEACE

An egotistical giraffe pitcher ultimately strikes out when his competitive spirit places his own self-interest above his teammate.

Boyd dominates baseball games with his athletic pitches, but his supportive teammate Arnold Armadillo's natural instinct to retreat for cover whenever the ball draws near starts a losing streak. Boyd faces a moral and spiritual dilemma after he scares the skunk groundskeeper (causing quite the stink) and fails to communicate the change in practice location to his uncoordinated friend. Boyd's ego initially overrides his conscience, but Coach's biblical lecture quickly sets him straight. Boyd welcomes Arnold back to the fold, and the armadillo clinches the score, though whether by chance or God's intercession remains unclear. The narrative's unlikely outcome, in which winning remains the reward, seems to stunt the characters' growing humility. The bland illustrations seek to project humor in the details. Boyd wears a clothespin to stifle the skunk's fumes, for instance. Unbelievable, earnest dialogue expresses Boyd's beliefs: “Thank you, God, for a great game!” Coach's redirection fails in both subtlety and developmental appropriateness in one fell swoop. “Well, I know a great umpire that will help you make good decisions in life. That umpire's name is PEACE.” Boyd's immediate change of heart fails to address the realistic complexities of Christians' walk in faith.

The heavy-hoofed message stomps any legitimate sense of serenity. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-310-72318-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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With this ahistorical interpretation, this book shows a disregard for both free will and the gradual maturation of talents...

THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU

God’s address to the Hebrew exiles from the Old Testament book of Jeremiah is repurposed in this cheery picture book that emphasizes children’s future careers.

In this decontextualized interpretation of the well-known verse, God narrates the text in a first-person, chatty style (“Hey, YOU!”) that urges children to discover their particular purposes in life, specifically related to career choices (“what I CREATED YOU to do”). The story begins with a fantastical factory in the clouds, controlled by engineers, and the disembodied hand of God pointing at readers. A sort of assembly line with seated, staring children scrolls across the bottoms of the pages, with the boys and girls receiving their professional wardrobes from robotic arms. Above the conveyor belt, smiling children are shown in various jobs wearing relevant career attire, with careful inclusion of children of many ethnicities as well as girls in science, medical, and construction jobs. While the text states that children will “find that one thing / that you love the most,” its overall thrust when combined with the illustrations implies that God chooses a profession for each child at birth and that children should be working toward that profession from an early age. The concluding page urges children to stop reading the book and “go out and find my big plans for YOU.” Readers with unemployed parents or parents toiling in miserable, unhappy jobs will be forgiven for wondering just where in God’s plan their families fit.

With this ahistorical interpretation, this book shows a disregard for both free will and the gradual maturation of talents and personalities. (Picture book/religion. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-310-72410-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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A fun story to share at Hanukkah—especially with the oil in the pan hot and ready for those yummy, crispy, fried holiday...

WAY TOO MANY LATKES

A HANUKKAH IN CHELM

Oy! Only in Chelm could there be such a problem—and such a solution.

Chelm, that beloved but very foolish village of old-time Eastern European Jewry, has a problem as the first day of Hanukkah approaches. Faigel makes the best latkes (potato pancakes fried in oil). But what is the recipe? She cannot remember. Her husband has the answer—or, rather, he knows whom to consult for the answer: the rabbi, who is the wisest man in the entire town. How many potatoes? All of them, says the rabbi. How many eggs? All of them, says the rabbi. How many onions? All of them, says the rabbi. How many mouths to eat all those mounds of deliciousness? All the villagers, says the rabbi. Glaser’s riff on a holiday tradition is told with lots of dialogue and the necessary understatement so important to Chelm tales. Zolotic’s flat, digitally composed illustrations, based on his background in animation, portray expressively bewildered and hungry white Chelmites with googly eyes and ultimately happy faces.

A fun story to share at Hanukkah—especially with the oil in the pan hot and ready for those yummy, crispy, fried holiday treats. (note on Chelm stories) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-2092-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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