A girl finds wonderful answers to her Passover questions in this sympathetic tale that will resonate with many families.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF PASSOVER

Passover is a time of traditional observance, but this year could be different for a young girl.

Jessica is busy practicing the four questions in Hebrew; it is tradition for the youngest child to ask the questions at a family Passover Seder. She is looking forward to joining her grandparents and cousins, and she especially loves that everything is the same from year to year. But things may be different this year. Grandpa has been in the hospital, and even though he has come home, he is not well. Will someone else read the entire Haggadah, the story of the Passover exodus? Who will hide the afikoman, the middle piece of matzo on the Seder table that the children search for and redeem for a gift? Jessica has the answers. Grandpa can stay in his bedroom with the door open and conduct the Seder, reclining on his pillows as is customary. The family works together to prepare the table, and the Seder begins with Grandpa and help from an uncle. Jessica happily finds the afikoman in a very special place. Those who celebrate Passover will find a story that resonates with tradition and family love. The colorful illustrations depict a white family drawn together at a special time.

A girl finds wonderful answers to her Passover questions in this sympathetic tale that will resonate with many families. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-0097-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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Not enough tricks to make this a treat.

HOW TO CATCH A WITCH

Another holiday title (How To Catch the Easter Bunny by Adam Wallace, illustrated by Elkerton, 2017) sticks to the popular series’ formula.

Rhyming four-line verses describe seven intrepid trick-or-treaters’ efforts to capture the witch haunting their Halloween. Rhyming roadblocks with toolbox is an acceptable stretch, but too often too many words or syllables in the lines throw off the cadence. Children familiar with earlier titles will recognize the traps set by the costume-clad kids—a pulley and box snare, a “Tunnel of Tricks.” Eventually they accept her invitation to “floss, bump, and boogie,” concluding “the dance party had hit the finale at last, / each dancing monster started to cheer! / There’s no doubt about it, we have to admit: / This witch threw the party of the year!” The kids are diverse, and their costumes are fanciful rather than scary—a unicorn, a dragon, a scarecrow, a red-haired child in a lab coat and bow tie, a wizard, and two space creatures. The monsters, goblins, ghosts, and jack-o'-lanterns, backgrounded by a turquoise and purple night sky, are sufficiently eerie. Still, there isn’t enough originality here to entice any but the most ardent fans of Halloween or the series. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Not enough tricks to make this a treat. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72821-035-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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ALWAYS MORE LOVE

An interactive book works to get its titular message across to readers.

The narrator, an anthropomorphic cartoon heart with big eyes and stick arms and legs, is nothing if not exuberant in its attempts, clumsy and cloying as they may be. “I love you so much, / but there’s more in my heart. / How is that possible? / Well, where do I start? // Now move in close, and you will see / just how much you mean to me. // My love is huge—below, above. / As you can tell, there’s always more love!” The page following the instruction to move in shows a close-up of the top of the heart and its eyes, one stick arm pointing skyward, though despite the admonition “you can tell,” readers will glean nothing about love from this picture. À la Hervé Tullet, the book prompts readers to act, but the instructions can sometimes be confusing (see above) and are largely irrelevant to the following spread, supposedly triggered by the suggested actions. The heart, suddenly supplied with a painter’s palette and a beret and surrounded by blobs of color, instructs readers to “Shake the book to see what I can be.” The page turn reveals hearts of all different colors, one rainbow-striped, and then different shapes. Most troublingly, the heart, who is clearly meant to be a stand-in for loved ones, states, “I’m always here for you,” which for too many children is heartbreakingly not true.

Skip. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-1376-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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