A useful if occasionally preachy introduction, this book would benefit from the inclusion of more specific details,...




To encourage tolerance, the photographer/authors want to help children understand similarities among Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

The authors assume readers will be people of faith, not atheists or agnostics. After short descriptions of each religion, common themes, such as the Golden Rule, spiritual leaders, sacred texts, clothing, symbols, places of worship, worship acts (use of incense, candles, water, and prayer), charity and cherishing children are explored. The text can be very specific, mentioning branches of Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist) without explaining the differences. (Sunni and Shiite Muslims are not delineated.) Activities will help children, teachers and parents think about religion in a comparative manner, although no sources or further reading are provided, which is a glaring omission. The attractive photos are often cropped into circular or curvilinear shapes and presented on brightly colored pages, giving the book the look of a magazine. Identified by religion but not by country, the photos were taken in the United States and eight other nations, including Mexico, Turkey and Vietnam. Interestingly, Israel and India, seemingly obvious choices, are not included. Captions would have been helpful for some photos such as a picture of a Muslim boy in a distinctive white cape and jeweled hat, which remains unexplained in the text.

A useful if occasionally preachy introduction, this book would benefit from the inclusion of more specific details, including holidays and eating customs. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-55453-750-1

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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An exciting and thought-provoking evocation of a strong, brave young woman.



From the Called and Courageous Girls series

In a retelling of the story of Deborah taken from the Hebrew Bible, she emerges as thoughtful and trustworthy, with God’s words to guide her.

While on a hill overlooking her village, Deborah spots an army of chariots. She and her friends bravely rush to warn the villagers in time to escape. King Jabin, his general, Sisera, and his men destroy the village, but the people, including Deborah’s family, escape. The army continues to attack villages throughout the land, maintaining a reign of terror. Deborah definitely has God on her side, as he speaks directly to her, telling her that she has been chosen to lead her people to freedom. On God’s instructions the battle is joined with Deborah and the soldier Barak in the lead and with God’s intervention in the form of lightning, pouring rain, and floods. With their bravery and that of the Israelites, freedom is achieved. The authors employ accessible and poetic language to tell the tale, with careful attention to the characters and details as they appear in the Bible and with particular emphasis on Deborah’s faith in God. Elwell’s strongly hued illustrations capture the texture, light, action, and power of the tale. Deborah and the Israelites are depicted with dark hair and eyes and deep-toned swarthy skin color.

An exciting and thought-provoking evocation of a strong, brave young woman. (questions, author’s note) (Picture book/religion. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7369-7371-7

Page Count: 49

Publisher: Harvest House

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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Rahab is intriguing and exciting, but her tale is told in a saccharine, preachy tone.



The story of Rahab, a woman of Jericho, appears in both the Old and New Testaments.

She is known for her bravery when the Israelites were about to conquer the city. She had heard of their belief in one God and wondered if this faith could be hers. When two Israelite spies were in danger of discovery and desperately needed assistance, she offered them a hiding place, but that also caused them to be locked inside the city walls. With prayer and guidance from this newly found God, she cleverly devised a way for them to escape. In return she demanded that they guarantee safety for herself and her family. When the walls came tumbling down, the Israelites kept their promise and accepted her as one of them, giving her the opportunity for a new beginning in her new faith. She is further idealized as the fifth-great-grandmother of Jesus, God granting her this honor for her great courage and faith, a detail that centers this telling firmly as Christian rather than Jewish. The authors have taken the main body of Rahab’s tale and expanded it. Her adult life as a prostitute is somewhat glossed over as “making a lot of bad choices,” though her “profession” is hinted at in a readers’ note. Elwell’s very bright, purple-and-pink, sun-washed illustrations enhance the narration, providing a strong vision of the time and place. All characters are shown as having dark and swarthy skin color.

Rahab is intriguing and exciting, but her tale is told in a saccharine, preachy tone. (reflection questions) (Picture book/religion. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7369-7373-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harvest House

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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