The strength of the poetry along with this assumption that religion and a relationship with God are an integral part of life...

DARK SONS

Grimes contrasts the Biblical story of Abraham’s son Ishmael with present day Samuel’s trying to cope with divorce and his father’s remarriage.

Conveyed almost entirely in prose poems, the work gives deeper meaning to both stories. A few quotes from Hammurabi’s Code, which preface some sections, provide needed context. Both sons focus first on their mothers. Ishmael’s mother is a slave, and the jealousy of Abraham’s wife makes their life difficult. The arrival of Isaac, the natural son in ancient times and of David, a biracial child in the present, gives a clear picture of the universality over time of sons wanting to be first in their father’s lives regardless of circumstances, as well as the charm of new babies. Grimes allows Samuel to find some peace, ably assisted by both of the women in his family, but Ishmael and his mother head into the desert, leaving Abraham behind completely. Three major religions derive from Abraham’s seed, giving this impact for many people of faith.

The strength of the poetry along with this assumption that religion and a relationship with God are an integral part of life distinguishes and illuminates the narrative. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7868-1888-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

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THE NIGHT OF LAS POSADAS

A wondrous occurrence, an ancient tradition, and an elderly nun’s abiding faith are the basis of this moving Chirstmas tale from dePaola (26 Fairmount Avenue, p. 629, etc.). Sister Angie is overjoyed when her niece Lupe and her husband are selected to play Mary and Joseph—here, Maria and José—for Las Posadas, the reenactment of the journey into Bethlehem. When Sister Angie becomes ill and Lupe and Roberto become stranded in a heavy snowstorm, it seems as if the celebration will be delayed. However, a couple arrives just in time to take the place of the missing players. The whole village participates in the procession, from the singers who follow Mary and Joseph, to the “devils” who attempt to prevent the weary travelers from finding lodging. After several rebuffs, the couple arrives at the gates of the courtyard; these open and the entire assembly enters to celebrate. When Lupe and Roberto finally show up, the other couple is nowhere to be found. The story takes a supernatural twist when Sister Angie discovers that the figures in the church’s manger scene have come to life, temporarily, for the procession. The mysteries and miracles of the season are kept at bay; this simple narrative spells everything out, resulting in a primer on the tradition. Richly hued, luminescent illustrations radiate from the pages; an introduction and author’s note provide additional information. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23400-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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JEREMY

THE TALE OF AN HONEST BUNNY

1886

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-670-88104-X

Page Count: 82

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1999

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