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FARMER KOBI'S HANUKKAH MATCH

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

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. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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GOD GAVE US EASTER

From the God Gave Us You series

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

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. 11, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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WHEN I TALK TO GOD, I TALK ABOUT YOU

Stick to separate books about parental love and prayer instead.

This Is Us actor Metz and her partner, songwriter Collins, present a rhyming children’s book about prayer and parental love.

“When I talk to God, guess what I do? / It’s really quite simple: I talk about you.” Fields’ pencil and digital illustrations show different parent-child animal pairs throughout, from bears to otters to skunks, ducks, deer, and more. But from this auspicious beginning, the authors’ point of view and direct address to “you,” the child, makes the majority of the pages seem like affirmations of what they love about their child and not what the parent actually prays for. Adults reading this aloud may see this as a prayer of thanksgiving for their child’s gifts and qualities, but little listeners will not make that connection. In the final pages, the parent tells the child that they can talk to God, too, and that God is always by their side. The last spread states, “You’re my sweetest prayer.” While the individual parts are sweet and affirming of a parent’s love and pride in their child, the sum of those parts isn’t what’s advertised in the title and repetitive refrain “When I talk to God, / I talk about you.” The gentle artwork in soft colors anthropomorphizes the animals’ facial expressions to make their loving relationships clear. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Stick to separate books about parental love and prayer instead. (Religious picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-52524-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022

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