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

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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An uplifting poetic journey through the beginning of the Book of Genesis.

BOOK OF THE BEGINNING

Sung brings the Creation story to life in a heartfelt work of narrative poetry for children.

The author writes that he “believes everyone should have the opportunity to hear about the bible, especially at a young age.” To that end, this book guides its audience through the first seven days of the world, according to the Book of Genesis. It straightforwardly recounts the familiar story of God’s formation of heaven and Earth from the darkness, and the division of night from day. It then explores God’s separation of heaven and Earth and land and sea on the second and third days, respectively. On the fourth day, he creates the sun, moon, and stars to illuminate the skies, and on the fifth day, he populates the skies and seas with creatures of his design. The sixth day brings forth land-based animals as well as man and woman, to whom God entrusts dominion and stewardship of Creation. On the final day, God deems his work complete, deeming the Sabbath holy and resting. The text is accompanied by page after page of colorful, exuberant crayon illustrations, reminiscent of children’s art. Sung uses poetry to provide a simple and inspiring retelling of the story of Creation. While adhering closely to biblical text, he blends a variety of rhyme schemes as well as free verse elements in a manner that will engage early readers. Clever verses, such as the slant rhyme “The word becomes tangible / God makes all sorts of wild animals,” use familiar language that most youngsters will be able to understand. The book draws upon biblical verses from the English Standard Version, King James Version, New International Version, and other editions, making it accessible for many Christian denominations, and interweaves these references seamlessly, emphasizing the continuity in the Gospel narratives. Overall, Sung offers an entertaining work that will ignite young imaginations while providing a solid introduction to one of the Bible’s most famous stories.

An uplifting poetic journey through the beginning of the Book of Genesis.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-973690-39-9

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2021

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