IN GOD’S HANDS

Wealthy Jacob is concerned with ways to make more money but routinely falls asleep during the Rabbi’s weekly Sabbath service. Less fortunate David, the caretaker of the synagogue, worries each week about his empty cupboards and hungry children. During one service, Jacob awakens long enough to hear the Torah portion from the Book of Leviticus where God instructs Moses to bake 12 loaves and set them before him in equal rows of six, each Sabbath day. Thinking God has spoken to him alone, Jacob goes home, bakes 12 loaves of challah and returns to the synagogue placing the loaves within the holy ark. Later, as David cleans up, he prays before the ark for his starving family. Opening it, he finds the challahs and rejoices for his answered prayers. The routine continues for several years until the wise Rabbi catches both men in their respective rituals and explains their lives are connected by their actions, not by God’s direction: “your hands are God’s hands.” As in the child-oriented Bagels from Benny by Aubrey Davis (2003), discussable themes of goodwill and kindness resonate throughout. The nearly full-page, folk-style, expressive paintings, compliment the sensitively told story. A worthy choice for all collections. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 1-58023-224-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Jewish Lights

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

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SAINT VALENTINE

The most interesting feature of this retelling of a story about a saint martyred in A.D. 270 is the art, a meticulous re- creation of the medium of its subject's period. Using thousands of tiny, rectangular pieces resembling tiles, Sabuda replicates the effect of Roman mosaics. His simple designs and harmonious, gently muted colors are pleasing, and he achieves surprising subtleties of expression, considering the intractability of the medium. Actually, the illustrations work even better from a slight distance (as with a group), so that the demarcations between the tiny pieces are less predominant. The technique, which tends to congeal the action, makes relatively undramatic illustrations; still, it's a fascinating experiment that brings the ancient world to life by paying tribute to its art rather than by picturing it in a modern style. The straightforward narrative centers on Valentine as a physician whose ointment restores the sight of a jailer's blind daughter, long the saint's friend. It's implied that the long-awaited cure takes place at the moment of his offstage death; the story ends with the joy of the child's renewed vision. An unusual and attractive rendition. Historical note. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-689-31762-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1992

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SEEK AND FIND BIBLE STORIES

In the style of Where’s Waldo?, a modern-day boy named Mike is camouflaged within busy illustrations of well-known Bible stories featuring dozens of tiny and similarly clad characters for sharp-eyed young readers to peruse. Each spread includes a large illustration filled with buildings, people and minuscule details, a brief paragraph summarizing the particular story, related questions directing the reader to find additional people or items in the illustration and a short Bible verse. The volume includes 14 stories from the Old Testament and 14 from the New, with each section followed by a more difficult quiz page with single items that can be found somewhere in any of the illustrations in that section. The busy visual depictions of the stories are chock-full of characters and tiny details, including some items that were not around in biblical times, such as helium balloons, a modern-style traffic sign and roller skates. Purists may object to a contemporary boy (and irrelevant objects) inserted into biblical scenes, but many children who seek the mental challenge of this format will find this fascinating. (Picture book/religion. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-310-71759-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2008

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