A noble lesson for all.

The Abrahams mistake a group of aliens who crash-land unexpectedly behind their home for the Greenbaums, their new neighbors.

Though the extraterrestrials’ odd behavior and incomprehensible language are a bit surprising, Dina invites them in with a welcoming “Shalom” and offers them a seat, water, and cookies. When Dina’s mother, realizing that these aren’t the Greenbaums, whispers that the guests “are a little strange,” Dina reminds her of the traditional Jewish teaching: “It’s a mitzvah to give guests food and drink and a place to rest.” But what these aliens really need is help in repairing their spaceship, which Dina provides with tools and tape. All fixed, the aliens take off again for Alpha Centauri amid gestures of thanks and friendship, leaving the Abrahams with a hologram of their time together. But there’s another funny twist in store when the Greenbaums finally do arrive. All in all, it’s a quirky yet sweet tale, brought to life by soft, whimsical drawings of the family and their mushroomlike guests and imbued with a sound message. The author’s note further explains the important “Jewish view of hospitality” and that of inviting others who may be “poor, lonely, converts, or new to the community.” Dina and her father are tan-skinned, while her mother is lighter-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A noble lesson for all. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2023

ISBN: 9798986396538

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kalaniot Books

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023


From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019


From the The Kingdom of Wrenly series , Vol. 1

A gentle adventure that sets the stage for future quests.

A lonely prince gains a friend for a quest to find a missing jewel.

Prince Lucas of Wrenly has everything a boy could possibly want—except a friend. His father has forbidden him to play with the village children for reasons of propriety. Adventure-seeking Lucas acquires peasant clothes to masquerade as a commoner and make friends, but he is caught out. His mother, the queen, persuades the king to allow him one friend: Clara, the daughter of her personal dressmaker. When the queen’s prized emerald pendant goes missing, Lucas and Clara set off to find it. They follow the jewel as it changes hands, interviewing each temporary owner. Their adventure cleverly introduces the series’ world and peoples, taking the children to the fairy island of Primlox, the trolls’ home of Burth, the wizard island of Hobsgrove and finally Mermaid’s Cove. By befriending the mermaids, Lucas and Clara finally recover the jewel. In thanks, the king gives Clara a horse of her own so that she may ride with Lucas on their future adventures. The third-person narration is generally unobtrusive, allowing the characters to take center stage. The charming, medieval-flavored illustrations set the fairy-tale scene and take up enough page space that new and reluctant readers won’t be overwhelmed by text.

 A gentle adventure that sets the stage for future quests. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-9691-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

Close Quickview