A missed opportunity to address the important, and very current, topic of refugees and asylum seekers.


Two guardian angels keep watch over a young girl both in her native Colombia and in her new home in Chicago.

The 1990s saw the South American country of Colombia reach a level of insecurity that forced many of its rural citizens to flee to safety either to the major cities or abroad. One such family found refuge in the U.S. city of Chicago. It is this family, and more specifically their young daughter, Adriana, that inspired this book. The story does not give much information on Colombia or on Adriana’s family, though, choosing instead to focus on the religious aspect of a loving God and the guardian angels sent to act on his behalf. In vibrant, warm colors the illustrations depict a brown-skinned girl with beautiful long black hair going about her life in Colombia, always under the watchful eye of two guardian angels with exuberantly colored wings. Later, as the family moves to Chicago and the color palette changes to a drab gray-and-tan one, the two guardian angels are still there to help her overcome the sadness she feels. The result is sweet, but the device of the angels keeps the story from connecting today’s readers with the very real children like Adriana. This book is also available in Spanish as Los Ángeles de Adriana.

A missed opportunity to address the important, and very current, topic of refugees and asylum seekers. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5064-1832-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sparkhouse

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A mildly stimulating and challenging exploration of the holiday.


An alphabet book employs a series of riddles and puzzles to engage children in the recognition of the various aspects of the Passover holiday.

An initial search to find all the letters in a double-page illustration features a typical table set for the Seder meal. This is followed by 24 rhymed questions posed in alphabetical order that present a variety of customs, symbols, characters, and concepts of the holiday. For example, the letter B is represented by “Baby Moses,” and readers are asked to choose the correct boat used to float the baby on the Nile. Children are offered a multiple-choice assortment of picture clues that are drawn in a clear, simple cartoon style. In the case of Moses, the vessels include a leaf, a cardboard box, a woven basket, an inner tube, a rowboat, and a rubber ducky. Some of the inquiries are straightforward or obvious for the holiday, while others, such as the page that addresses slavery, require some thinking and possible discussion. A variety of methods are also used to achieve the answers, such as solving a maze and reading a map. Others may require actual knowledge of the subject posed, such as the one on the 15th of Nisan, the Hebrew day and month that Passover begins. Together these short games can be used as an impetus to discuss the holiday's story and significance or to retell its various aspects.

A mildly stimulating and challenging exploration of the holiday. (author’s note, answer key) (Picture book/religion. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4677-7843-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An average version of an extraordinary tale.



Mora retells the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

On a cold day in December, Rose and her friend Terry are visiting Rose’s Grandma Lupita. After teaching Terry how to make paper flowers, the older woman begins telling them the story of the Lady of Guadalupe. The author keeps the tale simple enough for the book’s intended early-elementary audience, as she relates how the poor Juan Diego first met the Lady on Tepeyac Hill, outside of what is now Mexico City. Juan Diego follows the Lady’s request to go to the bishop and “ask him to build a special church for her on the hilltop.” The bishop requests a sign, which the Lady eventually provides to Juan Diego in the form of roses and her image on his tilma (cloak). The story returns to the present day, and Grandma Lupita and the girls share rose cookies in her kitchen. Although framing the famous Mexican story within a modern-day setting may appeal to some readers, doing so also removes some of the tale’s potency and leaves the text riddled with quotation marks. While vividly colored, the artwork by Johnson and Fancher often falls flat in the frame story, though placing the illustrations of the tale-within-the-tale within colorful borders is a nice feature.

An average version of an extraordinary tale. (author’s note) (Picture book/religion. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86838-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet