There’s plenty of wisdom here for older children and adults of many faiths.

JUST FOR TODAY

Landmann illustrates the decalogue of Angelo Roncalli, probably best known as Pope John XXIII and now St. John—a simple set of 10 precepts to live by.

Each day, he would be polite, he would not criticize, he would spend 10 minutes in silence listening to God. “Just for today, I will make a plan: perhaps I will not follow it perfectly, but still I will make it. And I will guard against two evils: haste and indecision.” He concludes knowing that it is hard to think of doing those things for a lifetime, but for 12 hours? Surely one can do that. The original Italian is not quite so stiff, although it is as formal; the advice in any language is strong but gentle, as the man himself was. Landmann has made a near-magical series of images illustrating this prayer: of a boy, of a city of turrets and domes, of a classroom in which each child has an animal companion like a guardian angel (or one of Philip Pullman’s daemons), of rooftops and forest and ocean. Her surreal approach is ideal for the ethereal subject. The palette is blue and gold, and the line is delicate. The credo is a bit too wordy for very young children, but they might be taken by the images, and the repetition of “just for today” has a comforting, rhythmic weight.

There’s plenty of wisdom here for older children and adults of many faiths. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5461-2

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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A lively introduction to the work of a Hebrew language scholar and lover—and his family.

THE LANGUAGE OF ANGELS

A STORY ABOUT THE REINVENTION OF HEBREW

The ancient Hebrew language enters the modern world.

In 1885 Jerusalem, a young boy named Ben-Zion cannot converse with the polyglot children of his age because his father has decreed that he speak only Hebrew, “the first child in more than two thousand years” to do so. The father, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, is a Zionist immigrant to Palestine and fervently believes that Jews from every country, speaking so many different languages, should return to the language of their ancestors and of Jewish Scripture. Ben-Zion is not popular in the neighborhood; some consider Hebrew a holy tongue to be used only in prayer. The father persists and finds that he needs to invent words to modernize the ancient language. Thus, by combining the Hebrew words for “wheel” and for “a pair of” he creates a word for bicycle. Ben-Yehuda’s work leads to a network of schools, a dictionary, and the eventual designation of Hebrew in 1948 as the national language of Israel. Michelson’s account, based on history, is presented as a story with invented dialogue, which he addresses in his author’s note. Gudeon’s digitized watercolor illustrations, full of children, are lively and feature Hebrew words and letters as part of the page design.

A lively introduction to the work of a Hebrew language scholar and lover—and his family. (afterword, further reading) (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-636-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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An uplifting poetic journey through the beginning of the Book of Genesis.

BOOK OF THE BEGINNING

Sung brings the Creation story to life in a heartfelt work of narrative poetry for children.

The author writes that he “believes everyone should have the opportunity to hear about the bible, especially at a young age.” To that end, this book guides its audience through the first seven days of the world, according to the Book of Genesis. It straightforwardly recounts the familiar story of God’s formation of heaven and Earth from the darkness, and the division of night from day. It then explores God’s separation of heaven and Earth and land and sea on the second and third days, respectively. On the fourth day, he creates the sun, moon, and stars to illuminate the skies, and on the fifth day, he populates the skies and seas with creatures of his design. The sixth day brings forth land-based animals as well as man and woman, to whom God entrusts dominion and stewardship of Creation. On the final day, God deems his work complete, deeming the Sabbath holy and resting. The text is accompanied by page after page of colorful, exuberant crayon illustrations, reminiscent of children’s art. Sung uses poetry to provide a simple and inspiring retelling of the story of Creation. While adhering closely to biblical text, he blends a variety of rhyme schemes as well as free verse elements in a manner that will engage early readers. Clever verses, such as the slant rhyme “The word becomes tangible / God makes all sorts of wild animals,” use familiar language that most youngsters will be able to understand. The book draws upon biblical verses from the English Standard Version, King James Version, New International Version, and other editions, making it accessible for many Christian denominations, and interweaves these references seamlessly, emphasizing the continuity in the Gospel narratives. Overall, Sung offers an entertaining work that will ignite young imaginations while providing a solid introduction to one of the Bible’s most famous stories.

An uplifting poetic journey through the beginning of the Book of Genesis.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-973690-39-9

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2021

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