Though Hanukkah takes something of a back seat, this funny, friendly tale is a worthy addition to the holiday shelves.

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FARMER KOBI'S HANUKKAH MATCH

An Israeli farmer’s menagerie proves to be both a hindrance and an asset when making the perfect romantic match.

When Farmer Kobi invites Polly for a date on the second night of Hanukkah, Donkey and the geese, goats, and sheep help him prepare. They put out the candles, dreidel, and gelt, suggest his outfit, and are right behind him when he answers the door. Kobi leaves Polly in the living room with his “family” while he finishes up in the kitchen with his Israeli-style Hanukkah menu of baba ghanouj, falafel, latkes with applesauce and sour cream, and limonana. But snooty Polly can’t bear the animals’ indoor presence and finally leaves in a huff. “If I wanted to be with animals, I’d go to the zoo!” Ink-and-watercolor illustrations capture the friendly sincerity of Kobi and his animals, while dialogue infused with animal sounds adds to the drollery. “ ‘She was definitely NOT Farmer Kobi’s perfect maaatch,’ maaed the goats….‘she was a faaake,’ baaed the sheep.” And when Ruthie knocks on the door a few minutes later, needing help with a flat tire, Kobi’s hospitality as supported by his exuberant animal family is definitely appreciated—and perfectly matched by Ruthie’s own farm animals, who wait in her truck. A short illustrated glossary and a suggested discussion guide on Jewish values of “Compassion for Animals” and “Welcoming Guests” round out this romp.

Though Hanukkah takes something of a back seat, this funny, friendly tale is a worthy addition to the holiday shelves. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-68115-501-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Fans of this popular series will find this a rewarding addition to family Easter celebrations.

GOD GAVE US EASTER

From the God Gave Us You series

Bergren and Bryant attempt to explain Easter to young children in a gentle, nonthreatening manner, with partial success.

When Little Cub questions her father about Easter, Papa Bear explains the religious significance of the holiday in various symbolic ways to his cub. He uses familiar things from their world, such as an egg and a fallen tree, to draw parallels with aspects of the Christian story. Papa Bear discusses his close relationships with Jesus and God, encouraging Little Cub to communicate with God on her own. The theme focuses on the renewal of life and the positive aspects of loving God and Jesus. Easter is presented as a celebration of eternal life, but the story skirts the issue of the crucifixion entirely. Some adults will find this an inadequate or even dishonest approach to the Easter story, but others will appreciate the calm and soothing text as a way to begin to understand a difficult subject. Bryant’s charming watercolor illustrations of the polar bear family, their cozy home and snowy forest scenes add to the overall mellow effect.

Fans of this popular series will find this a rewarding addition to family Easter celebrations. (Religion/picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-73072-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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