Illustrated with Brent’s (Celtic Fairytales, not reviewed, etc.) glorious, gold-drenched watercolors, Philip weaves a number of Romanian pourquoi tales into the biblical story of Noah and the ark. Gathering the animals two by two, Noah sees his wife hesitating. Indeed, she won’t come on board until the water is up to her waist and Noah says angrily, “Oh, you devil, come in!” At that, the devil comes on to the ark in the form of a mouse. The mouse chews through a plank and water begins to leak into the ark, but Noah throws a fur glove at it, which turns into a cat that catches the mouse, and Noah throws them both overboard. The devil-as-mouse escapes and the cat comes back on board to dry itself in the warmest, sunniest spot, a habit that continues to this day. The origin of the flea is also neatly explained. Brent’s resplendent ark is in the shape of a red and gold dove. It carries a storied house on its back with arched doors and windows and a patterned tile roof. The pages, bordered in jewel-toned folk-art patterns, hold pictures of voluptuous beauty, from naturalistic animal portraits to a sea resembling silk ribbon shot with luminous fish. Indeed, it is the shimmering art that transforms what is a somewhat less successful text into a worthy addition to the folklore shelves. (author’s source note) (Folktale/picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2001

ISBN: 0-618-11754-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2001

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Jesus pops up.

“It had been three days since Jesus died on a cross, and his friends were sad.” So Traini (The Life of Martin Luther, 2017) opens his ingenuously retold version of the first Easter. Beginning with two unnamed women clambering down a rocky hill to the graveyard, each of the seven tableaux features human figures with oversized eyes, light brown skin, and solemn or awed expressions posing in a sparsely decorated setting. The women hurry off at the behest of the angel lounging casually in a tomb bedecked with large crystals and fossil seashells to inform the “other disciples” of what’s happened. Along the way the women meet Jesus himself (“Greetings, my friends!”), who goes on to urge disciples “hiding inside a locked room” to touch his discreetly wounded hands. He later shares breakfast (“fish, of course!”) with Peter and others, then ascends from a mountaintop to heaven. Though the 3-D art and the flashes of irreverence set this sketchy rendition of the story apart from more conventional versions, the significance of the event never really comes clear…nor can it match for depth of feeling the stately likes of Jan Pienkowski’s Easter (1983). In the final scene Pentecostal flames appear over the heads of the disciples, leaving them endowed with the gift of tongues and eager to spread the “good news about Jesus!”

Skip. (Pop-up picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5064-3340-0

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Sparkhouse

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

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


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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