PREACHER CREATURE STRIKES ON SUNDAY

The creators of the Black Lagoon stories team up again for a new series called Tales from the Back Pew, focusing on introducing basic Christian concepts in a lighthearted (and often irreverent) way. A nine-year-old boy goes to church for the first time, one with a monster minister and mixed human-monster congregation. The young narrator offers humorous commentary on aspects of the traditional church service, recaps a few well-known Bible stories and offers a brief survey of his own ideas about God and heaven. He concludes that he likes church and wants to return with his friends. Lee’s loose, cartoon-style illustrations in watercolor and ink add considerable appeal, including plenty of speech balloons with pithy comments as well as spot illustrations of characters offering side comments within the short text. Some adults may be taken aback by some of the humor (the Bible is “full of stories about weird people”); most children will find it entirely appealing. Other titles in the series are Church Summer Cramp, Easter Egg Haunt and Mission Trip Impossible (ISBNs: 978-0-310-71592-4; 978-0-310-71591-7; 978-0-310-71590-0). (Picture book/religion. 5-9) 

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-310-71589-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2009

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HE'S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS

Nelson uses the old spiritual—offered here, astonishingly, in its first singleton, illustrated edition, though it’s available in many collections—as a springboard to celebrate family togetherness. Each line of a four-verse version of the lyric captions an intimate scene of an African-American lad, three sibs (one, lighter-skinned, perhaps adopted) and two parents in various combinations, posing together in both city (San Francisco) and country settings, sharing “the moon and the stars,” “the wind and the clouds,” “the oceans and the seas,” and so on. Sandwiched between views of, more or less, the whole world, Nelson alternates finished paintings in his characteristic strong, bold style with authentically childlike crayon drawings done with his left hand—demonstrating a superb ability to evoke both grand and naïve effects. Moving, reverent, spiritual indeed. (musical arrangement to close) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 978-0-8037-2850-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

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THE NIGHT OF LAS POSADAS

A wondrous occurrence, an ancient tradition, and an elderly nun’s abiding faith are the basis of this moving Chirstmas tale from dePaola (26 Fairmount Avenue, p. 629, etc.). Sister Angie is overjoyed when her niece Lupe and her husband are selected to play Mary and Joseph—here, Maria and José—for Las Posadas, the reenactment of the journey into Bethlehem. When Sister Angie becomes ill and Lupe and Roberto become stranded in a heavy snowstorm, it seems as if the celebration will be delayed. However, a couple arrives just in time to take the place of the missing players. The whole village participates in the procession, from the singers who follow Mary and Joseph, to the “devils” who attempt to prevent the weary travelers from finding lodging. After several rebuffs, the couple arrives at the gates of the courtyard; these open and the entire assembly enters to celebrate. When Lupe and Roberto finally show up, the other couple is nowhere to be found. The story takes a supernatural twist when Sister Angie discovers that the figures in the church’s manger scene have come to life, temporarily, for the procession. The mysteries and miracles of the season are kept at bay; this simple narrative spells everything out, resulting in a primer on the tradition. Richly hued, luminescent illustrations radiate from the pages; an introduction and author’s note provide additional information. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23400-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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