This is very much a teaching story, with an emphasis on the “teaching” part; despite its didacticism, it’s welcome in its...

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WIND, RAIN, SNOW

Published first in Turkish in 2008, this picture book from an Islamic publisher takes a look at the higher purpose of winds, raindrops and snowflakes.

Yildirim’s illustrations have the retro colors and aesthetic of 1950s early readers. Lines are swirly, and every raindrop, snowflake, tree and child wears a smile. Each of the three chapters ends with a prayer from the children, praising Allah for the wind, rain and snow. Each is also followed by a play activity of great simplicity (for rain, children can, with mother’s permission, take a basin outside and watch it fill with water). The personification of the weather—wind, raindrops and snowflakes each with little faces—has a raw and simple charm that is also evident in the text. Strong Wind knows that in autumn he must blow hard, informing all of the coming winter, but he is reduced to tears when the raven’s nest is destroyed because the raven did not prepare it for the change of seasons. The other winds remind him that he did his duty, and the fault was raven’s. The last raindrop rescues a white daisy: “I will have a long life!” she says. The pine tree fears the weight of the snow, but the snowflakes remind him that almighty Allah gave him the perfect shape to hold snow and that the melting snow will benefit all.

This is very much a teaching story, with an emphasis on the “teaching” part; despite its didacticism, it’s welcome in its representation of a belief system not seen often enough in American children’s books. (Picture book/religion. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59784-284-6

Page Count: 54

Publisher: Tughra Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers.

BAGEL IN LOVE

A romance for carb (and pun!) lovers who dance to their own drummers and don’t give up on their dreams.

Bagel is a guy who loves to dance; when he’s tapping and twirling, he doesn’t feel plain. The problem is, he can’t find a partner for the Cherry Jubilee Dance Contest. Poppy says his steps are half-baked. Pretzel, “who was at the spa getting a salt rub…told him his moves didn’t cut the mustard.” He strikes out in Sweet City, too, with Croissant, Doughnut, and Cake. But just when he’s given up, he hears the music from the contest and can’t help moving his feet. And an echoing tap comes back to him. Could it be a partner at last? Yep, and she just happens to smell sweet and have frosting piled high. Bagel and Cupcake crush the contest, but winning the trophy? That “was just icing on the cake,” as the final sentence reads, the two standing proudly with a blue ribbon and trophy, hearts filling the space above and between them. Dardik’s digital illustrations are pastel confections. Sometimes just the characters’ heads are the treats, and other times the whole body is the foodstuff, with tiny arms and legs added on. Even the buildings are like something from “Hansel and Gretel.” However, this pun-filled narrative is just one of many of its ilk, good for a few yuks but without much staying power.

In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2239-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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