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JESUS IS BORN

An excellent choice for church libraries and Christian families who want a contemporary retelling of the Christmas story.

This retelling of the Nativity story by a prolific author of Christian books for children recounts the narrative of the birth of Jesus and surrounding events.

The smoothly flowing text is based on the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. The story begins as Gabriel visits Mary in a garden to tell her about the arrival of Jesus. The text follows Mary and Joseph as they travel to Bethlehem together and moves through the birth of Jesus in the stable and on to the appearance of an angel to nearby shepherds and their journey to meet the baby. The quest of the wise men is introduced in conjunction with King Herod’s fear of a newborn Jewish king and his threat to harm the baby. The wise men visit the baby in the stable, and the conclusion describes Joseph’s warning by another angel to take Mary and Jesus to safety in Egypt. This accessible retelling is more complete than most Nativity stories for children, contextualizing the joyful scene of the birth in the stable against the imminent danger to the newborn child. Appealing colored-pencil illustrations in a muted palette are an excellent match to the fairly lengthy story. Most of the characters have light skin; one of the wise men and a court musician have dark skin.

An excellent choice for church libraries and Christian families who want a contemporary retelling of the Christmas story. (Picture book/religion. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68099-187-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Good Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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HOW TO CATCH A LOVEOSAURUS

From the How To Catch… series

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses.

An elusive new quarry leads the How To Catch… kids on a merry chase through a natural history museum.

Taking at least a step away from the “hunters versus prey” vibe of previous entries in the popular series, the racially diverse group of young visitors dashes through various museum halls in pursuit of the eponymous dino—whose quest to “spread kindness and joy ’round the world” takes the form of a mildly tumultuous museum tour. In most of Elkerton’s overly sweet, color-saturated scenes, only portions of the Loveosaurus, who is purple and covered with pink hearts, are visible behind exhibits or lumbering off the page. But the children find small enticements left behind, from craft supplies to make cards for endangered species to pictures of smiley faces, candy heart–style personal notes (“You Rock!” “Give Hugs”), and, in the hall of medieval arms and armor, a sign urging them to “Be Honest Be Kind.” The somewhat heavy-handed lesson comes through loud and clear. “There’s a message, he wants us to think,” hints Walstead to clue in more obtuse readers…and concluding scenes of smiling people young and otherwise exchanging hugs and knuckle bumps, holding doors for a wheelchair rider, and dancing through clouds of sparkles indicate that they, at least, have gotten it. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 9781728268781

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

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JUNETEENTH IS

A solid introduction to the holiday’s history and traditions for the youngest audience.

An African American child celebrates Juneteenth with her family.

The unnamed young narrator awakens to the smell of Daddy’s brisket cooking. She and her family pull up chairs and watch as a parade of dancers and musicians proceed down their street. Later, they go to Granddaddy’s house, which is decorated with flags commemorating the occasion. As family members arrive, more voices are added to the mix. Some play basketball; others listen to music. After prayers, the family enjoys a meal full of food; the child notes the numerous red items there, and backmatter explores the significance of the color to Juneteenth and in West African cultures. Granddaddy discusses the day’s historical importance and explains why they must remember those who came before them and who struggled and persevered. The final spreads proclaim that Juneteenth is an American holiday for all: “Juneteenth is all of us. We are America.” Told from the perspective of a child finding joy and wonder in her family’s traditions, this story strikes a balance between the celebratory aspects of the holiday and its historical origins. The strength of family and the power of community come through clearly. O’Brien’s lively and colorful digital illustrations enhance the tale.

A solid introduction to the holiday’s history and traditions for the youngest audience. (bibliography) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 9, 2024

ISBN: 9781797216805

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024

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