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Uri Shulevitz’s Caldecott-winning The Treasure presents a more winning take on the original theme, but Christian educators...

A canny merchant outwits a would-be thief trying to steal his jewels, then with help from the Bible gives him a greater treasure.

First issued by a small publisher in 1999 with illustrations by Lad Odell, the story pairs wealthy Raj, on an annual journey to visit his family, and a light-fingered fruit seller, Mohan, who is bent on stealing his precious cargo. Though Mohan searches Raj’s bags every night along the way, he finds nothing—because, as Raj at last reveals, he had been wise to Mohan’s scheme all along and hid his jewels under Mohan’s own pillow. “When we have our eyes on other people’s treasure, we cannot see how close we are to the greatest treasure there is.” Taking out a New Testament, Raj then explains that giving his life to Jesus will make him God’s child, and the repentant thief returns to his own loving family, resolved to look to God for his future needs. Fournier’s carefully detailed depictions of generic Indian street scenes and benign-looking figures in traditional dress give the explicitly Christian message, which Zacharias has tacked on to what he claims is an old parable, an unlikely but not impossible setting.

Uri Shulevitz’s Caldecott-winning The Treasure presents a more winning take on the original theme, but Christian educators may find a use for this repurposed version. (no source note) (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-310-71636-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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From the Zara's Rules series , Vol. 1

A charming contemporary story with a classic feel.

A 10 ¾-year-old girl weathers changes in her social circle—and her sense of self.

Dubbed “Queen of the Neighborhood” by beloved neighbor Mr. Chapman, who has sadly left Maryland for balmy Florida, Zara is apprehensive when a family with two kids moves into his house, potentially upsetting the delicate social balance. Readers familiar with Khan’s Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream books, set a few years after this series opener, will recognize the bustling Pakistani American Muslim household. Assertive, organized Zara and rambunctious 7-year-old Zayd live with their Mama and Baba; the siblings’ grandparents and uncle are integral parts of their daily lives. Zara and Zayd enjoy playing outside with their friends—Black sisters Jade and Gloria, White Alan, and Chinese American Melvin. Mr. Chapman always said that Zara knew how to “rule with grace and fairness,” but new arrivals Naomi and Michael, Jewish kids who are eager to engage socially, put this to the test. When Jamal Mamoo, Mama’s brother, brings over his Guinness World Records book, Zara decides that becoming a world-record holder is the boost her social status needs. Her humorous (and futile) attempts to make her mark ultimately lead her to being a more patient and understanding big sister and more flexible and supportive companion to friends old and new. Strong pacing, fluid prose, engaging hijinks, and heartwarming scenes of family life and outdoor play are complemented by expressive illustrations.

A charming contemporary story with a classic feel. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-9759-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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A different take on a difficult subject.

A young Jewish girl and her family must flee when the Nazis march into Paris.

Before the Nazis came, life was good. But when the “bad men came / in their brown shirts, guns in hands,” everything changed. All Jews must wear yellow stars, Papa can no longer work, the family is forced from their home, and they are cursed in the streets. They leave the city to live in the woods, enduring hunger, cold and fear of capture. They embark on a long, arduous journey over the mountains to Spain and then across to England and loving relatives. The little girl is aware of the dangers and her parents’ courage, and she remains steadfastly sure that a guardian angel is watching over them. When they return to Paris at the end of the war, there is a beautiful, monumental angel, surely the very one who had kept them safe, holding up the roof of their new apartment building. The girl narrates in an oddly dispassionate free-verse voice, so sure is she of the happy outcome for her family. Though an author’s note provides additional information about the war and the Holocaust and the staggering number of deaths, it will be difficult for young readers to make the connection between the narrator’s experience and the grim reality of the millions who perished. Green’s mixed-media illustrations are appropriately dark and menacing.

A different take on a difficult subject. (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-16741-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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