A wholesome and gentle story that's pleasant and soothing for little ones of all faiths, though it will have extra resonance...

READ REVIEW

GOOD NIGHT, LAILA TOV

The wonder of the natural world becomes more meaningful through active engagement with it.

A young family’s camping vacation makes two significant overnight stops, one at the seaside and one further inland in a lush green field. As parents set up tents, brother and sister feel the hot sand, marvel at the wide waves, breathe in the salty air and hear the wind’s English/Hebrew whisper of “good night, laila tov.” Similarly, while parents plant new tree seedlings in the field, children gather berries, are awed by field mice, surprised by bees and ultimately fall asleep to the rhythmic pattern of rain that mimics the “good night, laila tov” message. Bright, often full double-page scenes in deeply rich, opaque hues on textured paper bring out the natural essence of this sweet bedtime piece told in lilting rhyme. “We drove out to the oceanside. / The sand was hot. The waves were wide. / Tall grasses swayed. The salty air / Was soft and still and everywhere.” The continual assurance of its repetitive refrain, found on every other page, complements the theme of caring for nature’s beauty. Though the Judaic concept of tikkun olam, or repairing the world, is not explicitly stated within the text, it pervades the whole.

A wholesome and gentle story that's pleasant and soothing for little ones of all faiths, though it will have extra resonance in Jewish households. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86868-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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Lacking in consistency and coherence, this effort remains an interesting concept unsuccessfully executed.

LITTLE SEED

A LIFE

The life story of a seed is set in a biblical context.

Readers are introduced on the first page to Little Seed, who will serve as the uninspiring and often hard-to-spot main character of this tale. It floats to the ground and is buried in the soil until winter arrives and the earth freezes. Lest readers worry about Little Seed at this point, they are offered the startling—for no religious or spiritual context has been thus far established—reassurance that “God gave Little Seed everything it needed. Its hard coat protected it. Little Seed was safe.” When spring comes, Little Seed’s softened shell splits open, and a sprout and roots begin to grow. At this point, the illustrations present several small seedlings, making it impossible to even identify Little Seed. When summer rolls around, Little Seed has become a sunflower that must reproduce in fall to fulfill its destiny. The final page spread attempts to tie everything together by offering a quotation referencing gardens and seeds from Isaiah 61:11. The illustrations, an unusual mixture of realism and impressionism, are plagued by inconsistencies. The permanent fixtures of Little Seed’s background, for example, seem to change from season to season, though presumably it remains rooted in the same spot.

Lacking in consistency and coherence, this effort remains an interesting concept unsuccessfully executed. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9854090-7-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Graham Blanchard

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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EGG

A graciously illustrated rhyming ode to eggs.

Wrapped in its own firm shell, this compact board book has a solid padded cover and opens onto stiff, matte cardboard pages. Creamy white backgrounds highlight each page’s avian-related vignette, ranging from a greenish-gold “shiny egg” to a “dotted egg” with an elaborately lined, blue iridescent feather nestled in front. Though each page features an accurately drawn egg, there’s enough variation among the depictions—a large tropical flower overhanging a tiny vervain hummingbird egg; a chickadee incubating her eggs; a silly but “sweet” foil-wrapped chocolate egg—that the content feels fresh. Ink drawings in subdued colors are fine and delicate, clearly conveying the subtle differences among each bird species, and eggs and nests manage to look both fragile and solid. Related in two-word rhyming couplets consisting of one descriptor word followed by “egg,” the text achieves a smooth, catchy sound. A useful illustrated key at the back identifies the eggs, though some, like a “sea egg” identified as a great blue heron’s or those of less-familiar birds, such as the cassowary, beg for more context or even a picture of the bird itself. A tall, thin typeset keeps the focus on the lovely eggshells but is hard to read from a distance; sharp corners on the board pages make this case-bound board book unsuitable for the youngest listeners.

Egg-quisite . (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-56846-351-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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