Both lovely and eminently useful.

HERE IS THE WORLD

A YEAR OF JEWISH HOLIDAYS

The year’s range of Jewish holidays and celebrations are presented in this repeating, rhyming chant that features key succinct elements for each.

“Here are your parents, with arms open wide. / Here are your siblings, to stand by your side.” Beginning in early fall, Newman carefully chooses a new baby girl’s naming ceremony, not usually represented in other literature, followed by a Shabbat candle lighting, dinner and visit to the synagogue. She then launches into the high holy days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simhat Torah. Winter leads with Hanukkah, followed by Tu B’Shevat and Purim before the traditional spring celebrations of Passover and Shavuot. An early summer Shabbat picnic brings the year full circle. Bookending this annual list with Shabbat observances reflects the significance the Sabbath holds in Judaism. Gal’s illustrations provide a visual narrative, ending with a first birthday party for the baby named at the outset; the story culminates with her family marveling at the “ever-changing world” and wonder of their child. Charcoal drawings enhanced with digital collage create textured, festive scenes for each of the ceremonial traditions. Backmatter explanations fill out the basics (including the bris, or boys’ welcome ceremony) with a specific craft or activity for each holiday.

Both lovely and eminently useful. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1185-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween.

PUMPKIN MAGIC

Magical moonbeams awaken a pumpkin patch to raucous Halloween-season revelry.

A moonbeam illuminates and energizes a smiley-faced pumpkin sitting alone on a stair; it promptly takes off to find a friend with whom to have a good time. An entire pumpkin patch, also sparked by the magical moon, instantly comes alive. And what merriment all the grinning gourds get up to! Their playful shenanigans include piling high on top of one another, bouncing on a trampoline, dancing, marching, and drumming, wearing costumes, and competing in games. They even engage in activities usually reserved for other holiday-themed icons—flying on brooms and making magic, for instance. As dawn approaches, the pumpkin leader escorts the cavalcade back home. At sunrise, each one takes up residence on a different house’s front porch and awaits that evening’s moonbeams to work their magic again. Liveliness and good cheer abound in this frisky rhyming tale in which the perennial holiday symbols naturally take center stage. Perky couplets that read and scan very well appear on most pages and are accompanied by energetic, expressive illustrations that highlight vivid oranges, yellows, blues, purples, and greens with touches of other bright shades.

Readers will delight in discovering the joyous time pumpkins have when it’s Halloween. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-56332-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Charming Easter fun.

PETER EASTER FROG

You may know the Easter Bunny, but get ready to meet Peter Easter Frog!

Peter loves Easter, and he’s not going to let the fact that he’s a frog and not a bunny stop him, especially when he’s so good at hopping! He looks absolutely delighted to be hopping around delivering Easter eggs. As he hops along, so does a repeated refrain, which always begins with two words ending with “-ity” coupled with “Easter’s on its—” (“Squishity, squashity, Easter’s on its—”; “Yippity, yappity, Easter’s on its—”); each page turn playfully upends the expected conclusion of the line. Karas’ cheery art portrays a growing array of animals: a turtle decked out in lipstick and a spiffy Easter bonnet, a cow with flower choker necklace, and a sheepdog and a chipmunk sans finery. As Peter gives out colorful, patterned Easter eggs to the other animals, they are, at first, shocked to see an Easter frog but soon join him in his charitable mission to spread Easter cheer. The moment when the cow responds to the dog’s challenge that she is not a cow-bunny by pointing out its own breed as a “sheepdog” may elicit laughs, especially from adult readers. When the group finally meets the real Easter Bunny—hilariously, at the end of a dark tunnel—it seems that things may go awry, but all ends hoppily, happily, and inclusively. The text does not use dialogue tags, instead setting narration and dialogue in separate, distinctive typefaces; unfortunately, this design is not consistently applied, which may confuse readers. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 26.8% of actual size.)

Charming Easter fun. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6489-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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