Children new to the language may flounder; those with a handle on their alef-bets already will happily sing along, and...

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SING-ALONG ALEF BET

An effervescent run through the sounds and characters of the Hebrew alphabet, with a free musical track available via download.

Typical of song lyrics transcribed to print, the rhymes and rhythms sometimes sound better than they read: “Nun is for na’al—that’s my shoe. / Samech is for sus. That means horse in Hebrew.” Also, the audio version includes a fast alphabetical chorus that is not included in the book, except once at the end in a spread of untranscribed characters. There’s no lack of energy, though, in the language or the illustrations. Incorporating a large Hebrew character into each paint-and-collage scene, Gilboa portrays a light-skinned, red- and black-haired family in, mostly, modern dress dancing through domestic settings with pets, flowers, food, and finally a Torah scroll (for “Tav”). A closing note to adults suggests ways of sharing the contents.

Children new to the language may flounder; those with a handle on their alef-bets already will happily sing along, and they’ll probably pick up some new words along the way. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68115-509-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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More problematic than problem-solving.

WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?

A discussion starter offering contrasting answers to the titular question.

Children are likely to find their thinking more muddled than clarified by this set of scenarios, as—whether due to poor phrasing in the original French or awkward translation—the alternatives are often inscrutable or nonsensical. The confusion begins with the title, which is transformed to “What Makes Us Happy?” on an inside gatefold. Either way, the question is addressed in a series of broadly brushed scenes featuring an array of familiar animals with human expressions acting in anti-social ways on the left and, beneath further gatefolds on the right, more cooperatively. Thus, to use one of the less-obscure examples, the alternatives “Keeping everything for yourself? // Or sharing what you have?” caption views of a duckling depicted first clutching a basket full of lollipops, then handing them out. At other times, though, readers are invited to decide between “Being better than others // Or doing well with others”; “Being protected from all dangers // Or daring to jump and have fun”; “Using something until there is no more” (a monkey gulping down a pile of bananas), or (said monkey training a garden hose on a few banana plants) “taking care of things so we can keep enjoying it” (sic).

More problematic than problem-solving. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62795-121-0

Page Count: 60

Publisher: Shelter Harbor Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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An impressive monograph by two scholars well-positioned to examine the impact of religion on secular life.

BIBLE NATION

THE UNITED STATES OF HOBBY LOBBY

Two biblical scholars combine to dig into the actions and words of the billionaire Green family, founders of the Hobby Lobby chain of craft stores.

Moss (New Testament/Univ. of Notre Dame) and Baden (Hebrew Bible/Yale Divinity School), co-authors of Reconceiving Infertility: Biblical Perspectives on Procreation and Childlessness (2015), focus on the lawsuit filed by the Greens that reached the Supreme Court in 2014. The Greens, who have long been major funders of evangelical Christian initiatives, believed they possessed the right as business owners to ignore federal law requiring employers to cover the costs of contraceptives for employees. In a 5-4 decision, the justices sided with the Greens. The authors explain how the family arrived at their view of the prosperity gospel: due to their literal interpretations of the Bible and their generosity to evangelical Christian causes, God rewarded them with widespread business success. Patriarch David Green claimed that the legal battle occurred because the family could not abide abandoning religious beliefs to obey a provision of the federal government’s Affordable Care Act, signed by President Barack Obama. The authors began their deep dive into the Green empire after becoming aware of the vast sums the family was spending to inject religion into school curricula, to collect rare biblical manuscripts, and to open a massive Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., which is currently under construction. Moss and Baden portray the Green family members and their key executives as sincere evangelicals and benevolent employers. Throughout the book, however, they also show the Greens as naïve or disingenuous. To be sure, the family’s proselytizing is not neutral. Rather, they are promoting a historically inaccurate saga of the U.S. as an exclusionary Christian nation meant to marry church and state.

An impressive monograph by two scholars well-positioned to examine the impact of religion on secular life.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-691-17735-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Princeton Univ.

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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