In a few pictures, readers will have to search for Buddha…delightfully, it’s Where’s Waldo with a spiritual spin.



Where is the Buddha in this modern world?

“Buddha is up high,” walking through the mountains and gazing at the birds. “Buddha is down below,” in a submarine, with the whales and fishes. “Buddha is watching the soft winter snow,” pausing on a bridge to watch a crane dance. He sits in the sun and shines with the moon and walks with the elephants in the warm showers of the monsoon. He “is everywhere you go.” He is in “the cozy house” and the wide open spaces. He is still and silent, big and small, near and far. Ware’s picture-book representation of the belief that Buddha’s nature is in all of creation is perfect for Buddhist families or others open to the teachings of the Buddhist faith. The jewel-toned, stylized, cartoon illustrations of a tiny smiling Indian Buddha in saffron robes effectively extend the text. In one double-page spread, children of many races hold hands or stand by all types of animals; in another, golden heart-lights shine from the silhouettes of humans and animals in a cityscape. As an added bonus, aside from introducing the concept of interconnectedness, the simple rhyming text presents pairs of opposites: Buddha in a biplane “goes fast,” Buddha “goes slow” along a garden path beneath the stylized blossoms of, perhaps, a Bodhi tree. The diminutive trim size emphasizes its friendly approachability.

In a few pictures, readers will have to search for Buddha…delightfully, it’s Where’s Waldo with a spiritual spin. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61180-587-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bala Kids/Shambhala

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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Genial starter nonfiction.


From the PlayTabs series

Panels activated by sliding tabs introduce youngsters to the human body.

The information is presented in matter-of-fact narration and captioned, graphically simple art featuring rounded lines, oversized heads and eyes, and muted colors. The sliding panels reveal new scenes on both sides of the page, and arrows on the large tabs indicate the direction to pull them (some tabs work left and right and others up and down). Some of the tabs show only slight changes (a white child reaches for a teddy bear, demonstrating how arms and hands work), while others are much more surprising (a different white child runs to a door and on the other side of the panel is shown sitting on the toilet). The double-page spreads employ broad themes as organizers, such as “Your Body,” “Eating Right,” and “Taking Care of Your Body.” Much of the content is focused on the outside of the body, but one panel does slide to reveal an X-ray image of a skeleton. While there are a few dark brown and amber skin tones, it is mostly white children who appear in the pages to demonstrate body movements, self-care, visiting the doctor, senses, and feelings. The companion volume, Baby Animals, employs the same style of sliding panels to introduce youngsters to little critters and their parents, from baboons to penguins.

Genial starter nonfiction. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-2-40800-850-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Jesus pops up.

“It had been three days since Jesus died on a cross, and his friends were sad.” So Traini (The Life of Martin Luther, 2017) opens his ingenuously retold version of the first Easter. Beginning with two unnamed women clambering down a rocky hill to the graveyard, each of the seven tableaux features human figures with oversized eyes, light brown skin, and solemn or awed expressions posing in a sparsely decorated setting. The women hurry off at the behest of the angel lounging casually in a tomb bedecked with large crystals and fossil seashells to inform the “other disciples” of what’s happened. Along the way the women meet Jesus himself (“Greetings, my friends!”), who goes on to urge disciples “hiding inside a locked room” to touch his discreetly wounded hands. He later shares breakfast (“fish, of course!”) with Peter and others, then ascends from a mountaintop to heaven. Though the 3-D art and the flashes of irreverence set this sketchy rendition of the story apart from more conventional versions, the significance of the event never really comes clear…nor can it match for depth of feeling the stately likes of Jan Pienkowski’s Easter (1983). In the final scene Pentecostal flames appear over the heads of the disciples, leaving them endowed with the gift of tongues and eager to spread the “good news about Jesus!”

Skip. (Pop-up picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5064-3340-0

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Sparkhouse

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

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