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. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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A charming contemporary story with a classic feel.


From the Zara's Rules series , Vol. 1

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 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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Uncomfortably frenetic for something so devoid of plot.


Jewish summer camp adventures get a little too goofy.

Budding director Noah is certain he’s on his way to film camp—after all, he’s been nagging his parents about it nonstop. But instead, he and his sister are shipped off to Camp Challah, where the socially awkward tween is not confident about making friends. Just before going away, Pops, Noah’s grandfather, tells him he needs Noah’s help saving the world. But the alter kocker is known for his bombastic pronouncements, so not even Noah takes him seriously until a carrier pigeon arrives with a note from Pops. Whatever anyone else expects—or doesn’t expect—of Noah, his real plan is to do what Pops says. Somehow he ends up making friends who go along for the ride, nonsensical and unclear though it is. The first half of the book takes a more realistic tone, with typical camp activities, and it’s not until halfway through that Pops reappears in the flesh to take Noah along. Not only is the pacing off, but it’s odd when the antagonist threatening the world turns out to be an asteroid—not what readers might expect from a grandfather who regularly claims to have been a secret agent during World War II. A supporting character described as part Navajo makes wartime Code Talkers less the undersung heroes they are and more another goofball plot addition.

Uncomfortably frenetic for something so devoid of plot. (Mystery/adventure. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-6036-9

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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