Even with the additions, the story still feels bare-bones.

An embroidered version of the etiological tale from the book of Genesis, with a multicultural cast.

In the cartoon illustrations two children—one pale-skinned and red-haired, her friend darker of both skin and hair—front a similarly varied population that shares “one beautiful language.” Having moved from an overcrowded valley to found a new city, all pitch in to build a tower tall enough to “hold up the sky and stay above the waters,” should another Great Flood come along. As the children eat tower cakes and put on tower hats and play tower games, the structure rises so high that the proud builders decide to make war on God and “take the heavens as their home.” (Except for the tower itself, all of this is invented detail.) God sighs in disappointment and sends angels down in the night. The next morning, “Joseph woke up as José,” “Rachel” as “Rachelle,” and all of the people and animals speak different languages, from Spanish or Chinese to Cow or Chick. Samples of each in appropriate script, with an identifying label and (for non-English) a translation, fill a crowd of dialogue balloons in the final scenes. Calling out variations on “Let’s go this way!” in Spanish, Urdu, Russian, Hebrew, and other tongues, the humbled folk gather into groups and disperse, leaving the still-standing tower behind.

Even with the additions, the story still feels bare-bones. (Picture book/religion. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68115-514-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016



As vivid a demonstration of community as readers are likely to find.

Charity and caring for others—the Jewish concept of “tzedakah”—comes full circle in the story of a big sister who demonstrates generosity to a younger sibling through community outreach.

After she learns about tzedakah at the community center, Dalia comes home and creates a tzedakah box to begin saving for the center’s project. She inserts a dollar from her birthday money and tells her curious little brother, Yossi, that the box holds “a big yellow comforter.” With each new donation to the box earned from her gardening chores and lemonade sales, Dalia adds a butterfly bush and a banana cream pie. Yossi’s confusion grows; how can these things fit in what is essentially a piggy bank? Dalia kindly explains how her money, pooled with the other center participants’, will eventually buy all three for a lonely, homebound elderly woman. In joining his sister, Yossi learns that “Tzedakah means… doing the right things. It means thinking of others and giving them what they need.” Dressen-McQueen’s fully developed summer scenes in acrylic and oil pastel provide a vivid complement to the often–page-filling text, their naive, folk quality bringing great quantities of love and warmth to the tale.

As vivid a demonstration of community as readers are likely to find. (author’s note)  (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-378-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011


Enjoyable fare for youngsters who already have a concept of the holiday.

The loud, chaotic celebration of Purim and its companion story is recreated in a farm-animal play that results in a surprising development.

After Farmer Max leaves to attend a Purim play, the animals decide to stage their own version. Chicken offers to direct, orchestrating Horse as the King Ahashuerus, Duck as the blushing Queen Esther, bearded Goat as Mordecai, cows as the mooing noisemakers and geese as the audience. Casting a somewhat sensitive Sheep as the evil Haman requires some explanation from Chicken as she retells the holiday’s story through her patient direction. “They aren’t mooing at YOU...They’re mooing at evil Haman.” Still fretting over her role, Sheep retreats off stage to dress in, yes, her wolf’s costume, while a new character, Fox, suddenly appears on the scene with real evil intentions. Confusion quickly moves to realization, with Duck’s bravado leading a flurry of noisy animal antics to scare the fox away before Farmer Max returns with a basket of hamantaschen. Gouache cartoons of wide-eyed, long-lashed characters in muted browns, blacks and tans add enough charm to the required pathos of the text’s circumvented telling for this menagerie’s megillah.

Enjoyable fare for youngsters who already have a concept of the holiday. (Picture books/religion. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7613-4514-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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