S IS FOR SNOWMAN

GOD'S WINTERTIME ALPHABET

A nice addition to seasonal bookshelves that will find extra use in church-school programs.

Wargin’s latest completes her four-season abecedarian series and relates the wonders of winter to God’s goodness. 

First and foremost, this is a celebration of winter-related activities, indoor and out: making snow angels, feeding the birds, baking cookies, sipping hot chocolate, ice skating and sledding. At the same time, the natural wonders of wintertime are brought to the fore: “God cast the Frost sparkling white on the land, / a beautiful blanket spread right from his hand.” From counting blessings on the squares of a warm quilt to seeing God’s love in the light spilling from house windows into the darkness beyond, many of Wargin’s rhyming couplets stress God’s goodness and people’s responsibility to spread that goodness through acts of caring—doing chores and sharing anything from mittens to soup. While Jesus is not specifically mentioned, decorating a tree and exchanging gifts are some of the wintertime activities. Johnson’s softly colored illustrations are vital to filling in details that just cannot be expressed in rhyming couplets, and they add a few activities that aren’t mentioned in the text; the north wind page features skiing, for instance.

A nice addition to seasonal bookshelves that will find extra use in church-school programs. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-310-71661-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2011

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

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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