A standout among books to share on Christmas Eve.

READ REVIEW

SILENT NIGHT

Stunning illustrations bring new life to a well-loved Christmas carol.

Using only the familiar carol’s lyrics as the text, the story of the Nativity is gorgeously brought to life. Mary and Joseph journey through the hills of Galilee on their way to Bethlehem. Hawthorne boldly paints the night sky black, against which a mosaic of colors stands out like stained glass. Importantly, and perhaps just as boldly, she depicts the Holy Family as dark-skinned. In a Middle Eastern style of portraiture that finds echoes in early Christian art, the geometric, quiltlike design in gouache evokes the serenity of the words. One can picture a family quietly singing this book aloud, allowing the eye to linger on images of twinkling stars, angels, pomegranate trees, and animals spilled across perfectly paced pages. The characters are portrayed with a variety of brown skin tones, but the darkest belong to Mary and Jesus. On the last spread, as the sky becomes a deep blue, the perspective pulls back to reveal the stable in the full hillside setting. With the moon and stars above, the words “Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace” bring the story to a close. The full text of the carol is provided at end along with information about its Austrian origins.

A standout among books to share on Christmas Eve. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78603-066-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Sweet, but like marshmallow chicks, just a bit of fluff.

THE LITTLEST EASTER BUNNY

From the Littlest series

The smallest bunny in Easter Town finds that she and her little chick friend are big enough to help the Easter Bunny prepare for the annual Easter egg hunt.

In the fifth entry in the Littlest series, Penny the bunny wants to help get ready for Easter. All the rabbits in her family are busy with their special jobs, getting eggs, candy, and baskets in order, but little Penny seems too small or clumsy to be of any help. Her parents and siblings try to let her assist them, but she falls into a vat of dye, spills marshmallow goo, gets tangled in the strands of a basket, and fails to fill even one Easter basket. Feeling dejected, Penny befriends a tiny chick named Peck. With the help of Penny’s family, Penny and Peck make miniature treats and petite baskets suitable to their own size. When the Easter Bunny’s main helpers fall ill, Penny and Peck convince the Easter Bunny that their small size will help them do the best job of finding spots to hide eggs as well as their own tiny basket creations. This too-pat conclusion doesn’t quite hold up to logical analysis, as the full-size eggs and baskets are still too large for Penny and Peck to handle. Bland cartoon illustrations are filled with bunnies in candy-bright pastels with a greeting-card cuteness quotient.

Sweet, but like marshmallow chicks, just a bit of fluff. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-32912-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more