Kindness is rewarded and a holiday is celebrated in this endearing, satisfying story.

THE PASSOVER GUEST

Miracles occur on Passover, both in the Haggadah and in a poor, Depression-era Jewish American neighborhood.

For Muriel, a young girl living in 1933 Washington, D.C., there can be no Passover seder. Her family is too poor. Stopping at the Lincoln Memorial, she watches a juggler whose shabby appearance suddenly seems to burst into color. She gives him all she has—one penny—and he tells her to hurry home to a seder. She rushes home only to find her parents standing in front of an empty table. But the stranger is now at the door, and he magically transforms that bare table to one overflowing with holiday foods and ceremonial plates and cups. The rabbi is summoned and declares it a “true miracle” to be enjoyed by the whole neighborhood. At the conclusion of the festive meal, the cup left for the Prophet Elijah is empty. In her afterword, the author writes that a favorite childhood story was Uri Shulevitz’s The Magician (1973), which set a Yiddish tale by Isaac Loeb Peretz in a shtetl. This reimagined American setting during the Great Depression and its message of community and faith will resonate with readers. Rubin’s line-and-color art beautifully conveys a Washington, D.C., spring with cherry blossoms blooming, crowded streets that also evoke a long-ago, slightly off-kilter European town, and a gloriously bright holiday evening. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 34.8% of actual size.)

Kindness is rewarded and a holiday is celebrated in this endearing, satisfying story. (illustrator's note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4562-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers.

HOW TO CATCH THE EASTER BUNNY

From the How to Catch… series

The bestselling series (How to Catch an Elf, 2016, etc.) about capturing mythical creatures continues with a story about various ways to catch the Easter Bunny as it makes its annual deliveries.

The bunny narrates its own story in rhyming text, beginning with an introduction at its office in a manufacturing facility that creates Easter eggs and candy. The rabbit then abruptly takes off on its delivery route with a tiny basket of eggs strapped to its back, immediately encountering a trap with carrots and a box propped up with a stick. The narrative focuses on how the Easter Bunny avoids increasingly complex traps set up to catch him with no explanation as to who has set the traps or why. These traps include an underground tunnel, a fluorescent dance floor with a hidden pit of carrots, a robot bunny, pirates on an island, and a cannon that shoots candy fish, as well as some sort of locked, hazardous site with radiation danger. Readers of previous books in the series will understand the premise, but others will be confused by the rabbit’s frenetic escapades. Cartoon-style illustrations have a 1960s vibe, with a slightly scary, bow-tied bunny with chartreuse eyes and a glowing palette of neon shades that shout for attention.

This bunny escapes all the traps but fails to find a logical plot or an emotional connection with readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3817-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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