A family book to learn with and share for those inclined to this religious lifestyle.


“Hakaras Hatov,” the Jewish daily ritual of thanking God for everyday life, is explicated in simplistic verse in this personalized drawing workbook.

Beginning with the Modeh Ani, or morning prayer, a little girl, upon awakening in her bed, thanks Hashem (God) for ”making me, me!” As her day continues, she is grateful for her family, the mitzvos (good deeds) she is able to do, food she eats, her home and possessions, the natural world surrounding her, her health and, at night, once again for her warm bed. Each thank you is accompanied by a brightly hued watercolor illustration on the left side featuring an observant Jewish family in proper attire, complete with long skirts for girls and yarmulkes for boys. The right side provides a bordered blank page for children to draw their own corresponding thank-you picture as suggested—“Where do you live? Draw a picture of your house on this page.” Created for an Orthodox audience, this preschool-oriented introduction to daily prayer and gratitude is carefully designed and stands out by presenting a girl for its protagonist. Yet it pales compared to the award-winning, artfully rendered duo by Sarah Gershman, The Bedtime Sh’ma (2007) and Modeh Ani (2010).  

A family book to learn with and share for those inclined to this religious lifestyle. (Picture books/religion. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-929628-63-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Hachai

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2012

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Loewen’s story is a simple snapshot of kindergarten graduation day, and it stays true to form, with Yoshikawa’s artwork resembling photos that might be placed in an album—and the illustrations cheer, a mixed media of saturated color, remarkable depth and joyful expression. The author comfortably captures the hesitations of making the jump from kindergarten to first grade without making a fuss about it, and she makes the prospect something worth the effort. Trepidation aside, this is a reminder of how much fun kindergarten was: your own cubbyhole, the Halloween parade, losing a tooth, “the last time we’ll ever sit criss-cross applesauce together.” But there is also the fledgling’s pleasure at shucking off the past—swabbing the desks, tossing out the stubbiest crayons, taking the pictures off the wall—and surging into the future. Then there is graduation itself: donning the mortarboards, trooping into the auditorium—“Mr. Meyer starts playing a serious song on the piano. It makes me want to cry. It makes me want to march”—which will likely have a few adult readers feeling the same. (Picture book. 4-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5807-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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Fun, fun, fun all through the town!


This book’s gonna werk, werk, werk all through Pride Month and beyond.

Drag persona Lil Miss Hot Mess rewrites “The Wheels on the Bus” to create a fun, movement-filled, family-friendly celebration of drag. The text opens with the titular verse to establish the familiar song’s formulaic pattern: “The hips on the drag queen go SWISH, SWISH, SWISH… / ALL THROUGH THE TOWN!” Along the way, more and more drag queens join in the celebration. The unnamed queens proudly display a range of skin tones, sizes, and body modifications to create a diverse cast of realistic characters that could easily be spotted at a Pride event or on RuPaul’s Drag Race. The palette of both costumes and backgrounds is appropriately psychedelic, and there are plenty of jewels going “BLING, BLING, BLING.” Don’t tell the queens, but the flow is the book’s real star, because it encourages natural kinetic participation that will have groups of young readers giggling and miming along with the story. Libraries and bookshops hosting drag-queen storytimes will find this a popular choice, and those celebrating LGBTQ+ heritage will also find this a useful book for the pre-K crowd. Curious children unfamiliar with a drag queen may require a brief explanation, but the spectacle stands up just fine on its own platforms.

Fun, fun, fun all through the town! (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6765-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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