A thought-provoking and satisfying pourquoi tale plumbing an element of Jewish life many children may not have considered.

READ REVIEW

THE SHEMA IN THE MEZUZAH

LISTENING TO EACH OTHER

An old story of compromise helps a little girl understand the reasoning behind the slanted placement of a doorpost mezuzah.

Annie knows it’s important in Jewish homes to have a mezuzah in the doorway, with the words of the Shema prayer (the affirmation of Judaism) enclosed on special paper. When she asks why the mezuzah is hung in a leaning position rather than vertically or horizontally, her grandmother recounts the story of a village. Half the people think it right to post their mezuzah standing up, since the prayer is said when awakening, and the other half think it correct to post it lying down, to recognize its recitation at bedtime. A shouting match ensues, with one side stating “Standing up!” against the other’s “Lying down!” Double-page spreads in deep hues created by acrylic, marker and crayon depict the fray. Equally alienated groups in increasingly agitated positions and with ever-wider mouths are shown above a progressively larger font, effectively evoking the conflict. The wise rabbi introduces a compromise by suggesting a slanted or leaning position. Grandmother reinforces the importance of conciliation, extending the principle of the Shema beyond this conflict: “We stop arguing. We stop yelling at each other. We listen. We are one.

A thought-provoking and satisfying pourquoi tale plumbing an element of Jewish life many children may not have considered. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58023-506-8

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Jewish Lights

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2012

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Though the rhyme tumbles and at times bumbles, enticing imagery will lure readers in.

GOD SPEAKS IN WHISPERS

Rhyming text and colorful multicultural illustrations reassure young readers of God’s omnipresence and still small voice.

“Where in the world is God’s voice found?” Perhaps in ocean waves, bird song, or mountain vistas, suggest the couplet rhymes. Even when readers might be faced with difficult emotions and distractions of all kinds, the text reassures them that God is still there and still speaking, if only one pauses to listen. His voice can be found in nature, in starlight, in the love of family and friends, in dreams, and “through His Word.” Admirably, the bright illustrations, reminiscent of mid-20th-century Disney artist Mary Blair’s stylings, depict children and families with a diverse array of skin tones and ages. There is also a refreshing mix of urban, suburban, and rural settings. Yet, despite the appealing illustrations, the rhymes and scansion are often forced (“your feelings, they matter, / even if they’re all mixed up like / pancake batter”), which detracts from the overall message. Contrived couplets notwithstanding, this title will likely find an audience among Christian households seeking reassuring bedtime reads.

Though the rhyme tumbles and at times bumbles, enticing imagery will lure readers in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-65385-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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The light, soothing atmosphere created by the well-matched prayers and illustrations is deceptively simple, effectively...

I IMAGINE

An unusual, whimsical collection of 12 short prayers offers an imaginative approach with a patterned text and creative responses from the children narrating the prayers.

Each prayer follows a similar pattern, describing a particular circumstance or challenge familiar to young children (“if life is stormy”), followed by the child narrator’s imagined action (“I imagine I’m a tree, tossed and tumbled in the wind”). In alternating spreads, there is also a comforting response from God (“you show me how my roots are getting stronger”). This particular prayer is illustrated with a cutaway view of a tree’s roots extending deep into the ground, providing extensive support for the tree even though we can’t see it from our perspective. Throughout the collection, the first-person imagined personifications and responses from God are surprisingly sophisticated in their symbolism and imagery, while still being intellectually accessible to the intended audience. Moriuchi’s pleasing collage illustrations of chubby-cheeked children incorporate textured papers, fabrics and snippets of print along with painted elements. Creative type placement provides additional motion within the illustrations, with flowing text indicating the movement of wind or water.

The light, soothing atmosphere created by the well-matched prayers and illustrations is deceptively simple, effectively conveying powerful images and a strong sense of comfort. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7459-6208-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lion/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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