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

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

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ONE CANDLE

This Hanukkah story about a family’s ritual reenactment of Grandma and great-aunt Rose’s Hanukkah spent at Buchenwald many years ago during the “bad time” propounds a disturbing view of the Holocaust. Grandma and great-aunt Rose demonstrate to the family how they hollowed out a potato stolen from the kitchen at the camp, filled it with a dab of stolen margarine, made a wick from a piece of thread, and lit a candle to commemorate the holiday. Popp’s (Sister Anne’s Hands, 1998) realistic drawings of the celebration are soft and subtly colored, reflecting the family’s warmth and closeness, while the drawings of the camp are ghostly in sepia tones. Afterwards the whole family steps outside to look at the Hanukkah lights through the window and drink a toast to life. The disturbing piece is Grandpa’s comment that “The Germans didn’t like a lot of people. It wasn’t only the Jews.” For many, this is a deeply offensive statement, implying as it does that the Jews were not singled out by Hitler and the Germans for the very specific goal of total destruction. Even in the context of human history, the single-mindedness, efficiency, and technological resources put to the task make Hitler’s war against the Jews exceptional. Grandpa’s comment would be problematic in any event, but out of the mouth of the husband of a Holocaust survivor it is troubling indeed. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-060-28115-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2002

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