WHY HEAVEN IS FAR AWAY by Julius Lester
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WHY HEAVEN IS FAR AWAY

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 9
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Shaniqua, Bruce, Mrs. God, and, of course, God, return after What a Truly Cool World (1999), to reveal the answer to a question children are bound to wonder about. When the world was new, ladders joined heaven and earth, and folks visited back and forth. However, that didn’t work out—because of the snakes. God thinks the snakes are lovely—“like watching silence dance,” he says—but people kill them because they are afraid, and creatures eat them because they think they’re called snacks. God sends Bruce to use the computer in the Library of Everything That Is Going to Be to find snake poison. When so armed, though, the snakes drive everyone into heaven, overrunning God and Mrs. God’s miniature golf game and wreaking havoc. Mrs. God (her name’s Irene) and Shaniqua, the Angel in Charge of Everybody’s Business, talk to the snakes to resolve the problem (“Thank you for asking what it’s like to be a snake. No one ever did”). Turns out Mrs. God is a bit miffed at being left out of the original creation effort, so she and Shaniqua set about rearranging the snakes, their poison, and everything else—music doesn’t seem to calm these savage breasts. But God and Mrs. God know that those on earth have to work out their own problems, and so all the ladders are pulled up but one (Shaniqua needs a way to know everybody’s business, after all). The language is funny and true, the pictures practically chortle off the pages, and children will find the answers not only to the title question, but to why stars fall and hawks soar as well as to what the Zero Commandment is. Furthermore, they’ll always be looking for that one last ladder—after all, it leads straight to heaven. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-439-17871-1
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2002




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