Divine.

READ REVIEW

THE NIGHT OF HIS BIRTH

A lyrical, moving account of Jesus’ birth, from his mother’s perspective.

In text adapted from a story that first appeared in The Presbyterian Survey (1985), Paterson channels the voice of the Virgin Mary, who marvels at the birth of her son after the shepherds have departed and while Joseph sleeps: “Can you believe it? God’s anointed one upon my breast, with milk, just there, at the corner of his tiny mouth.” These down-to-earth, oh-so-human words are accompanied by a picture of the Madonna and Child, her face turned away as she sits, barefoot, cradling him, while he faces readers. Both have dark hair and olive complexions, as do others depicted in the stunning, full-color illustrations. Prominent, aquiline noses define many profiles, and the characters’ brown eyes radiate wonder and reverence throughout the book. Nowhere is this more apparent than in a spread with an extreme close-up of Mary’s eyes gazing at readers from a full-bleed double-page spread with text that wonders about what the future holds for her baby and herself. Earlier, her parents gazed outward, too, as Mary recalled their worry about her pregnancy before also addressing Joseph’s concerns. But “tonight, I saw the gentle way he washed the son God gave into his care,” Mary later reflects in another moment emphasizing the humanity of this holy night.

Divine. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947888-12-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flyaway Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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Haunting and beautiful.

LILAH TOV GOOD NIGHT

As the sun sets and the moon rises, an unnamed young child says good night to everything in the natural landscape.

In the simple, brief, descriptive text the child calls out, “Lilah Tov,” to hens and roosters, bears and bats, beaches and waves, clouds and stars, fish and birds, mountains and streams. There is no other narrative, at least not in words. Naggan’s lush, detailed, soft-edged landscapes provide another, deeper, and more nuanced level to the proceedings. “Lilah tov” means “good night” in Hebrew, and there is a menorah on the windowsill, indicating that this family is Jewish. By dress and household appearance, they seem to be living in the late 19th or early 20th century. After a simple meal, they pack their belongings and leave their small rural home. The protagonist is saying good night to the creatures and places spotted on what readers will see as a lengthy journey. Beneath a full moon a man rows them across a body of water, and the journey continues on the other side. At the end of their travels there is a new home awaiting them. They travel quietly and surreptitiously, but there is no explanation within the text of where they are and why they leave. Are they refugees escaping something dreadful? Each young reader will interpret the work differently depending on individual understanding and knowledge of history, or perhaps with a wise adult to help.

Haunting and beautiful. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4066-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book....

YOU ARE MY PUMPKIN

Young children won't understand the metaphors but will appreciate the sentiment made clear by the repeated, Halloween-themed declarations of love in Wan's latest board book.

Each of the seven spreads presents an endearment illustrated by an object drawn with heavy outlines and just enough detail to invoke its essential characteristics. Lest it become too maudlin, between the “sugary, sweet candy corn” and a “purr-fect, cuddly kitty” is a “wild, messy monster.” Wan manages to make each drawing expressive and distinctive while relying on just a few shapes—crescents or circles for eyes, dots or ovals accenting cheeks. Although each spread stands alone, there are quiet connections. For example, the orange of the pumpkin is repeated in the candy corn, and the purple that adorns kitty's hat and bow becomes the prominent color on the next spread, setting off the friendly white ghost nicely. The same purple is used for the spider's body on the next to last spread. Subtle, shadowed backgrounds repeat the patterns found elsewhere in the book. For example, the background of the page with the kitty includes pumpkins, hearts, and hats and bows like the ones kitty is wearing.

While this is not an essential purchase, most little pumpkins will love being told, “Baby, I'm batty for you!” (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: June 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-88092-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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