Fans of such characters as Big Nate and Stink will likely enjoy the silly humor and adventures in this series opener, while...

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SQUIRRELED AWAY

From the Dead Sea Squirrels series

A humorous early chapter book featuring childish adventures, biblical concepts, and Christian life.

This outing is the first in the planned Dead Sea Squirrels series by the co-creator of Veggie Tales. As readers familiar with Veggie Tales might expect, there are elements of character-building and morality, Bible verses, and depictions of Christian life throughout this chapter book for elementary school children. Michael Gomez and his best friend, Justin, spend the summer with Michael’s archaeologist father at a dig on the shores of the Dead Sea, where Michael makes a “gross”—that is to say "cool”— discovery: two salt-withered, ancient squirrel bodies. The theme of the book—the commandment to honor thy father and mother—is illustrated by Michael’s disobedience to his father and his subsequent consequences and remorse. However, there is plenty of humor to tickle young readers, and the target audience will undoubtedly laugh out loud. Séguin-Magee’s many grayscale illustrations are appealingly cartoonish and funny. They depict presumably Latinx Dr. Gomez and Michael with brown skin, while Michael’s mother and Justin both present white. The book ends with a cliffhanger that will make readers happy sequel Boy Meets Squirrels publishes simultaneously.

Fans of such characters as Big Nate and Stink will likely enjoy the silly humor and adventures in this series opener, while many of their caregivers will appreciate the character-building lessons . (Fiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4964-3498-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Tyndale House

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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A sweet Pesach indeed.

A PLACE FOR ELIJAH

Everyone is welcome at the Seder table, but will there be a seat for the Prophet Elijah?

Sarah and her family joyously prepare for Passover's first Seder. They set the table with an extra place and seat for Elijah, and the door is left open so he can come in. They begin the Seder with a special prayer for their neighbors across the street, whose shops and apartments are without power on this unseasonably cold and rainy night. Music Man Miguel, Doughnut Dan, Bagel Ben, Mrs. Faaiz the florist, and the young boy who sells magazines are all in the dark. One by one these neighbors are drawn to the light and warmth of Sarah’s home. As each one is welcomed and provided with a seat at the table and with wonderful, savory food, Sarah sets another place for Elijah. The final visitor is the young boy who is given the only remaining chair. Sarah is really worried until she asks the boy his name. “You never know how Elijah comes, only that he does.” Ruben seamlessly weaves information about Passover and its traditions into a tale of a loving family with open hearts that fully embrace the spirit of this ancient holiday. Though a bit stiff, Friar’s carefully detailed illustrations, set in blues and yellows, beautifully complement the events.

A sweet Pesach indeed. (afterword) (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4677-7841-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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A mildly stimulating and challenging exploration of the holiday.

ABC PASSOVER HUNT

An alphabet book employs a series of riddles and puzzles to engage children in the recognition of the various aspects of the Passover holiday.

An initial search to find all the letters in a double-page illustration features a typical table set for the Seder meal. This is followed by 24 rhymed questions posed in alphabetical order that present a variety of customs, symbols, characters, and concepts of the holiday. For example, the letter B is represented by “Baby Moses,” and readers are asked to choose the correct boat used to float the baby on the Nile. Children are offered a multiple-choice assortment of picture clues that are drawn in a clear, simple cartoon style. In the case of Moses, the vessels include a leaf, a cardboard box, a woven basket, an inner tube, a rowboat, and a rubber ducky. Some of the inquiries are straightforward or obvious for the holiday, while others, such as the page that addresses slavery, require some thinking and possible discussion. A variety of methods are also used to achieve the answers, such as solving a maze and reading a map. Others may require actual knowledge of the subject posed, such as the one on the 15th of Nisan, the Hebrew day and month that Passover begins. Together these short games can be used as an impetus to discuss the holiday's story and significance or to retell its various aspects.

A mildly stimulating and challenging exploration of the holiday. (author’s note, answer key) (Picture book/religion. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4677-7843-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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