Though Rachel's quest takes place within a Jewish context, her emotions and situation are near universal, and this artful...

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ZAYDE COMES TO LIVE

Though many parents tend to shield their young children from the realities of terminal illness, this picture book looks at death through the concerned and loving eyes of a child who begins to understand the concept behind the "circle of life."

When Zayde comes to live in Rachel’s house, it is “because he is dying.” Watching him sit and sleep day and night in a sleeper-chair with an oxygen tube, Rachel instinctively knows that he is close to death and begins to question where he will go after his last breath. Megan says he will go to heaven, and Hakim says he will go to Paradise, but Zayde's Jewish; is there a place for him? Through this question-and-answer text, listeners are told of the inevitability gently, with Zayde’s acceptance and feelings of “shalom,” peace and completeness, and the rabbi’s explanation of “Olam Ha-Ba,” the Jewish belief in the “World to Come.” Most importantly Rachel learns that memories carried in family stories will keep her grandfather alive in her heart. Sinykin does a commendable job of dispelling fear with empathy and tenderness through some very direct yet positive answers to a child’s uncertainty. Linoleum prints created with watercolors and colored pencils in muted tones reflect a spiritually calm and sometimes whimsical ambiance, matching the text’s gentle tone.

Though Rachel's quest takes place within a Jewish context, her emotions and situation are near universal, and this artful book handles both well. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-56145-631-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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A gem for every household.

ALL BECAUSE YOU MATTER

Two accomplished creators invite Black children to take up their spaces in the world.

Charles’ lyrical text addresses “you, dear child,” in the voice of a loving caregiver, recounting how the world anticipated and prepared for the child’s existence. The child was “dreamed of, / like a knapsack / full of wishes / carried on the backs / of your ancestors,” who worked and built, “because to them, / you always mattered.” The word “matter” is used in both ways: as a noun, as the child is made up of the same stuff that makes up the universe, and as a verb, because “strength, power and beauty / lie within,” even though the world will sometimes make the child question whether “they, / or you, / will ever matter.” The universe made room for “you, / your people, / their dreams, / your future,” Charles assures the child. The protesters (“take a breath, / take a stand, / take a knee”) and victims of racist violence (“Trayvon, / Tamir, / Philando”) are mentioned explicitly without becoming the focus; the journey from beginning to end of the book sends a message that is nurturing, nourishing, loving, and reassuring, expanding and deepening the words of the movement it echoes. Collier’s trademark paint-and-collage illustrations use petal shapes with patterns and faces, blue and brown hues, and family scenes and close-ups to embody the child’s growth within affectionate circles of family, community, and universe.

A gem for every household. (author's note, illustrator's note) (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57485-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE

A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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