The ending is touching enough that the story is almost as vivid as the people in the pictures.

WHO WILL ASK THE FOUR QUESTIONS?

Ben-Ami’s illustrations in this Israeli import by way of the U.K. are so expressive that readers can understand the plot just by looking at the characters’ faces.

There are only three things to know. First: A brother and a sister get into a horrible fight just before the Passover Seder. Second, and maybe the most important: They both love music. She’s always singing, and he’s always strumming an apple-green guitar. And third: By the end of the meal, they’re both singing together again. Readers can learn most of this from the characters’ mouths and foreheads: the boy’s dismissive laugh when his younger sister tries to sing and, in the same picture, her one angry, cocked eyebrow. The only major detail readers need to learn from the text is the actual subject of the argument. At a traditional Seder, the youngest child sings the four questions, a chant that explains the meaning of the holiday, but in this family, the older child, brother Eitan, doesn’t want to give up the job. The problem is solved in a way that’s both entirely predictable and satisfyingly surprising. Evie struggles with the words, and Eitan joins in to help her out. Throughout the meal, just about everyone is smiling. (The characters are all white and mostly related.) But in these illustrations, each person’s smile is distinctly, beautifully unique.

The ending is touching enough that the story is almost as vivid as the people in the pictures. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-78438-463-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Green Bean Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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The feelings of community and togetherness are palpable.

SNOW GLOBE WISHES

When a snowstorm blows through town, it knocks out power and sends evening commuters scurrying for the safety and warmth of home.

But in the electricity-free night, one family turns the darkness into an opportunity to slow down and enjoy time together. This charming story follows the evening of an interracial family of four: a brown-skinned and dark-haired woman, little girl, and little boy, and a man presenting as white with light-colored skin and light hair. They have a candlelit picnic of Chinese takeout next to a blazing fireplace and decorated Christmas tree. The family enjoys the rest of the quiet snowy evening beneath a blanket fort in which they sleep together, cat and dog bundled in as well. The next morning, they and the rest of the community go out to play in the snow. The final spread in the book depicts the family’s cat and dog looking at the happy human tableau, now within the snow globe, which reads “Peace on Earth.” The muted colors, simple, childlike renderings, and happy characters make this book about a snowstorm feel warm and cozy—think hygge in picture-book form. Aside from the star-topped, decorated tree and the “Peace on Earth” message, often associated with Christmas, there are no religious symbols used in the book.

The feelings of community and togetherness are palpable. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-53411-031-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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Not the most eggceptional tale on the Easter story shelf but still a fun-enough outing for fans of Turkey’s holiday-themed...

TURKEY'S EGGCELLENT EASTER

From the Turkey Trouble series

The fourth entry in the Turkey Trouble series finds Turkey and his animal friends attending a children’s Easter egg hunt at a park next to Turkey’s farm.

Turkey and his pals want to win an “eggstraspecial” prize at the egg hunt, but the event is only for children—not animals. So the group of animal friends decides to attend the egg hunt in disguise and treat their adventure as a “secret mission.” Their disguises include dark glasses and costumes suggesting a rabbit, a bee, and a bunch of daffodils, but each attempt to participate in the egg hunt is rebuffed by the human attendees. The animals work together to create a large, egg-shaped costume for Turkey from a wicker basket, and Turkey and the boy who finds him in egg mode both win special prizes. Turkey shares his prize of a huge, jelly-bean–topped pizza with all his animal buddies. The mildly humorous story has funny animal characters, inventive action, and lots of puns incorporating “egg” into other words. Cartoon-style watercolor-and-pencil illustrations add to the humor with amusing animal expressions and the ongoing series theme of silly costumes. Several of the children at the egg hunt are children of color; the other human characters present white.

Not the most eggceptional tale on the Easter story shelf but still a fun-enough outing for fans of Turkey’s holiday-themed series. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4037-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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