This guide works better as a bestiary than as a picture book.

READ REVIEW

I AM THE TREE OF LIFE

MY JEWISH YOGA BOOK

This Jewish yoga guide is filled with animals.

If children had to list their favorite Biblical characters, they might not mention “the snake that slithered in front of Pharaoh” or “the giant fish that swallowed Jonah” or “a thirsty camel that drank from Rebekah’s water pitcher,” but all of those animals are featured in this picture book—possibly because they match up perfectly with yoga positions. Children may find the snake appealing, because it ate up all the other snakes in the palace, but many would rather be Rebekah—who offered water to needy travelers—than the camel she fed. Each page of the book showcases a character or object from the Bible—like Noah’s Ark or David fighting Goliath—along with an illustrated lesson in yoga. The poses are acted out in the pictures by two vacant-eyed children—a black boy and a white girl—with small, blank smiles on their faces. (The skin tones of the Biblical figures range from pale khaki to pale amber.) If the choice of subjects is slightly haphazard, some of the figures are genuinely inspiring, like Sarah and Abraham, whose tent (downward dog) sheltered wanderers in the barren desert. A book that combines yoga instruction with the Bible is probably aimed at a niche audience, but even that audience may feel a little befuddled.

This guide works better as a bestiary than as a picture book. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68115-552-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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This will serve well in both religious and nonreligious settings for fall curriculum support.

CELEBRATING HARVEST

The annual harvest from farm to table is explored with a religious perspective, focusing on Christian harvest traditions and the Jewish celebration of Sukkot.

Crisp color photography highlights children in scenes of farming and the harvesting of fruits and vegetables. The book features several instructive points about the variety of produce available, the harvest concept and sharing. Finally, it covers two different yet corresponding religious ways to observe the harvest and thank God. Church-based harvest festivals are illustrated by the decorating of a church with various breads, wheat stalks and baskets of food. Sukkot is shown with the building and decorating of a Sukkah and how this symbol of a shelter or hut relates to the ancient Jewish celebration. An informative and eye-catching design on glossy paper offers a large, multicolored print, the majority of text blocks in black against soft pale backgrounds, with key words in bold blue; these are repeated in a vocabulary border at the bottom of each page. The text is largely framed in questions, encouraging personal response and discussion. The simplicity and functionality of the book’s premise is enhanced with an addendum of teaching suggestions for specific pages and more detailed background information about the concepts presented.

This will serve well in both religious and nonreligious settings for fall curriculum support. (websites, index) (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-237-54373-0

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Evans/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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While not destined to have wide appeal, the book tells the story of a saint deeply important in both the Roman Catholic and...

SAINT ANTHONY THE GREAT

A brief introduction to the early Christian mystic and saint.

Anthony lived in the third and fourth centuries C.E., in Egypt. Both his extremely ascetic life and his role as the father of monasticism are described in ways that make them accessible to young children. When Anthony’s parents die, leaving him with the care of his younger sister, he sells everything he owns, provides for his sister’s care, and “sets out with nothing to find something.” He is assailed by “wrong thoughts” and temptations, described as coming from the devil. But he turns to God and continues to repel the devil. He settles in an old fort, alone, where his friends bring him food, and people move near the fort to hear Anthony speak. His message is that wrong thoughts come to everyone, but they can be overcome by “right thoughts” (“like being patient and caring for his friends”) that bring one nearer to God. Later, he moves even further into the desert, living to 105. Throughout, he lives consciously, rejecting wrong thoughts and cultivating right ones. The pictures use many Egyptian, Persian, and Middle Eastern patterns and motifs, and Anthony’s age is tracked by the length of his beard.

While not destined to have wide appeal, the book tells the story of a saint deeply important in both the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox traditions, filling a critical niche. (appendix, timeline, further reading, map, glossary) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-937786-46-5

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Wisdom Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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