The Ways We Worship
Age Range: 10 - 12
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 Despite the title, Osborne (Favorite Norse Myths, 1995, etc.) confines her handsomely packaged introduction to the seven most widespread--not necessarily largest--faiths, describing for each its history, values, major holidays, and distinctive style of worship. All arose, she writes, in response to three questions: How did the world begin? What is the purpose of life? What happens after we die? All have created enduring senses of community and purpose in millions; the author carefully points out similarities, as well as differences. Her tone is respectful, with inconsistently skeptical touches: ``God spoke to Abraham'' and Moses ``stretched his hand over the waters, and they parted,'' but ``according to his followers, Jesus was taken up into heaven,'' and a Zen koan ``is supposed to help students think and see things in a new way.'' The level of detail is not evenhanded either--``women play a vital role in Hinduism'' is an unsupported afterthought relegated to a picture caption, and Osborne points out varieties of practice and belief in Judaism and Christianity, but not in Islam. Many of the several dozen large full-color photos feature children engaged in rites or celebrations, sending the important message that religion isn't just for grown-ups, but the factual information here is not hard to find elsewhere, and next to books like Huston Smith's Illustrated World Religions (1994), the narrow focus will give readers only a limited picture. (index, not seen, bibliography, chronology, map) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-679-86051-7
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1996

Kirkus Interview
Mary Pope Osborne
January 6, 2015

Danger in the Darkest Hour is beloved children’s writer Mary Pope Osborne’s latest entry in the Magic Tree House series and it features Jack and Annie’s most dangerous mission ever. The magic tree house has taken Jack and Annie back in time to England in 1944. England is fighting for its life in World War II. Before long, Jack and Annie find themselves parachuting into Normandy, France, behind enemy lines. The date is June 5. Will the brave brother and sister team be able to make a difference during one of the darkest times in history? “It appears there is nowhere Osborne’s Magic Tree House cannot take readers, as this successful foray suggests,” our reviewer writes. View video >


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