K IS FOR KITE

GOD’S SPRINGTIME ALPHABET

In her first picture book, Gatto offers cheerful, brilliantly colored paintings of children celebrating springtime and Easter pursuits. Her illustrations have a flattened perspective and a childlike simplicity well suited to an abecedary. The text is structured with each letter matched to one springtime item in traditional alphabet-book style, with a rhyming couplet further describing the item included at the top of the spread. The text sometimes struggles with logic, and some rhymes just don’t scan; some verses include God and his influence while others just celebrate springtime. Some illustrations do not have an exact picture-to-text correlation: For example, “C is for caterpillars,” yet there is only one caterpillar in the illustration. Parents and preschoolers will enjoy the joyous, fresh illustrations and the basic alphabet format, as long as they’re not too picky about details. (Religion/picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-310-71662-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Zondervan

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2010

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A sweet, colorful start for a Christian spiritual journey.

BECAUSE GOD LOVES ME

A cheery child gives thanks to God.

“When I see a rainbow / High up in the sky / I say a little prayer of thanks, / And here’s the reason why: // Because God loves me!” This board book’s focus is the comforting notion that God loves all his children, and no matter what, he will always look out for them. The text follows an ABCB rhyme scheme, breaking after every stanza to repeat the phrase “Because God loves me!” The small, light-skinned child has spiky brown hair and wears a dress; both the child and a chubby accompanying dog are appealingly illustrated with a bright, simple color palette and scratchy lines that appear to have been made with colored pencil. God is the only name given for the deity, implying a primarily Christian audience. The book’s message is clear, and its construction is sturdy, suiting this well to parents who are beginning to have conversations with their little readers regarding their beliefs.

A sweet, colorful start for a Christian spiritual journey. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58925-237-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2016

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A simplistic, outdated take on Diwali for young children.

BINNY'S DIWALI

It’s Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, and Binny can’t wait to tell her class about her favorite holiday.

On their way through their North American suburb to school, Binny’s mother wishes her luck and reminds her to tell her class about the oil lamps that are a central part of their family’s Diwali tradition. But when Binny’s teacher, Mr. Boomer, invites her to share, Binny freezes, overcome with shyness. Taking a deep breath, she remembers her mother’s advice. The thought of the world filled with light—symbolizing the triumph of good over evil—gives Binny the strength she needs to tell her family’s Diwali story. While the book is thorough in its description of traditions like wearing new clothes, eating sweets, lighting lamps, and decorating floors and sidewalks with colored powder, the prose is clunky and clumsy, and Binny’s conflict is resolved so quickly that the story arc feels limp and uninteresting.  Other elements of the text are troubling as well. Calling Binny’s new clothes an “Indian outfit,” for example, erases the fact that the kurta she wears is typical of the entire South Asian subcontinent. The use of most fireworks, which the author treats as an essential part of the holiday, is now banned in India due to concerns about pollution and child labor. Most problematically of all, the author continually treats Diwali as a Hindu holiday celebrated by “everyone,” which is untrue in India or in diaspora and which dangerously equates Hindu and Indian identity. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads reviewed at 49% of actual size.)

A simplistic, outdated take on Diwali for young children. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-36448-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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