THE COLT AND THE KING

A small donkey narrates the story of his role in the first Palm Sunday procession in Jerusalem. His owner takes him to the village gate, where strangers ask for a donkey that has never been ridden. He is fearful and stubborn, but is led to a hillside, a grove of olive trees where there is a man in the midst of a crowd. The man is called Jesus and as soon as the colt sees him, he grows peaceful. He joyfully carries the man on his back with the people waving palms and throwing their cloaks on the path and the donkey knows that he is carrying a King. The donkey wishes to carry Jesus back to his hillside, where he will introduce him to his friends—the lizard, crow, cow, hen, and cricket. “My hillside will be a throne for him, and at night the stars will weave him a crown.” The lovely double-paged spreads are executed with impasto acrylic on handmade French watercolor paper. The city scenes are predominantly warm sienna colors highlighting the bricks and buildings while the country scenes are mostly rich blue-green and are a pleasant contrast to the city scenes. Endpapers are the patchwork colors of the cloaks worn by the people and thrown on the path of Jesus. A foreword cites the Gospel writers who tell the story of the Palm Sunday procession, especially Zechariah, Chapter 9, Verse 9: “See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” The palm branches and the tradition of the Palm Sunday procession are also included. A gentle story that small children and parents can enjoy together. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 15, 2002

ISBN: 0-8234-1695-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2002

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For people familiar with Jerusalem the images are recognizable. For a clear, complete, nuanced introduction, look elsewhere.

JOURNEY THROUGH JERUSALEM

This brief picture-book tour of Jerusalem has a clear Jewish and Christian viewpoint.

Three kittens and their mama are the tour guides. They provide diversion as they guide readers past iconic sites—beginning with a lesser-known windmill near Hezekiah’s Tunnel, through the Jaffa Gate of the Old City, past the Cardo columns built by the Romans, to the Western Wall outside the Dome of the Rock, and down Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They then take a light-rail train outside the Old City to the Mahane Yehuda Market, the Knesset building, and the Shrine of the Book. Mama cat provides commentary, explaining, for example, that the Knesset is “where all the important laws are made” and that the Shrine of the Book is the “special home of the oldest Hebrew Bible ever found.” In contrast, the Dome of the Rock is described as “built on a very sacred spot,” with no mention that it is a holy place for Muslims as well as for Jews. Stock photos with images of the cats superimposed are busy and often unclear. Explanations are incomplete, and the geopolitical, architectural, and religious complexity of Jerusalem is thereby given short shrift.

For people familiar with Jerusalem the images are recognizable. For a clear, complete, nuanced introduction, look elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68115-531-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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A mediocre, bland offering for the holiday shelf.

A WATERMELON IN THE SUKKAH

A child’s favorite fruit creates a challenge for his class when it comes time for the annual ritual of decorating the classroom’s Sukkah, the traditional outdoor hut for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Michael arrives at school with a choice fruit, following his teacher’s request to bring in a favorite one. As the children prepare to hang their bananas, pears, grapes and oranges, Michael realizes that his large, round, heavy watermelon will be difficult to suspend, as is the custom, from the open-air latticed roof of the Sukkah. Ideas abound: a basket of sorts could be made from lots of string, or rubber bands, or tape….Disappointed but not discouraged, Michael tries a hammock-style approach made from a large piece of fabric and four hooks, and to everyone’s surprise, it works. Perhaps a pumpkin will be next? Stock cartoon faces dominate the colorful gouache paintings of a Judaic school. The story, too, feels dutiful rather than inspired, an off-the-shelf plot to fill a niche rather than a meaningful celebration of this joyous holiday.

A mediocre, bland offering for the holiday shelf. (note) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7613-8118-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: July 8, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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