A solid addition to the small collection of Zionist picture books.

READ REVIEW

A CONCERT IN THE SAND

A fictionalized account of the first public performance by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1936.

Uri, bored at his parents’ delicatessen, walks with his grandmother through Tel Aviv. Unable to converse, since Uri’s grandmother speaks German and Uri does not, they communicate mainly through gestures from Grandma and guesses from Uri. Grandma seems to know where she wants to go, but Uri’s not so sure: “Maybe she’s following the men with the funny-shaped cases.” The men with the funny-shaped cases are, indeed, what Grandma is interested in, and after several detours, Uri and Grandma find themselves at the first-ever performance by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Shem-Tov and Sandbank’s text (in an uncredited translation) relies on a presumed understanding of the significance of newly formed Israel to pack their emotional punch, never explicitly saying why Grandma is so moved by and invested in this performance. Blues, greens, and yellows make up the primary palette of Ofer’s soft, mixed-media illustrations—reminiscent of the work of Peter H. Reynolds—with painted backgrounds and thin outlines conveying a steady gentleness. All characters are as white as the paper on which they’re printed, although the vast majority are presumably Jewish. While Uri’s first-person rhetorical questioning feels more forced and less exciting than perhaps intended, the soothing illustrations convey a calm not contemporarily associated with Israel.

A solid addition to the small collection of Zionist picture books. (historical note, photographs) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-0099-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This Mother’s Day tale is rather limited in its audience to those who can afford fancy brunch after their own religious...

THE BERENSTAIN BEARS MOTHER'S DAY BLESSINGS

From the Berenstain Bears series

The Berenstains’ son adds a Mother’s Day entry to the series, continuing the adventures of the Bear family with a religious focus.

Brother, Sister, and Honey want to do something special for Mama for Mother’s Day, and Papa helps them think of just the thing—brunch at the Bear Country Inn after church—and they can invite Grizzly Gran, too. On the ride to church, Mama points out all the ways other families are celebrating their own mothers even though these community helpers are working on the holiday: Officer Marguerite’s children bring her flowers as she directs traffic, and Mrs. Ben’s children are pitching in with farm chores. Indeed, the trip to church is eye-opening for the cubs, who never realized that some of their neighbors even had children. During the church service, Preacher Brown thanks God for the gift of mothers and quotes the Bible: “Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard planted by the water; it was fruitful and full of branches.” While the illustrations are the same as ever (the smiling bears haven’t aged a bit!), the series seems to have moved away from addressing a variety of families.

This Mother’s Day tale is rather limited in its audience to those who can afford fancy brunch after their own religious services, contrary to its apparent message that being together is all that matters. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-310-74869-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

With this ahistorical interpretation, this book shows a disregard for both free will and the gradual maturation of talents...

THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU

God’s address to the Hebrew exiles from the Old Testament book of Jeremiah is repurposed in this cheery picture book that emphasizes children’s future careers.

In this decontextualized interpretation of the well-known verse, God narrates the text in a first-person, chatty style (“Hey, YOU!”) that urges children to discover their particular purposes in life, specifically related to career choices (“what I CREATED YOU to do”). The story begins with a fantastical factory in the clouds, controlled by engineers, and the disembodied hand of God pointing at readers. A sort of assembly line with seated, staring children scrolls across the bottoms of the pages, with the boys and girls receiving their professional wardrobes from robotic arms. Above the conveyor belt, smiling children are shown in various jobs wearing relevant career attire, with careful inclusion of children of many ethnicities as well as girls in science, medical, and construction jobs. While the text states that children will “find that one thing / that you love the most,” its overall thrust when combined with the illustrations implies that God chooses a profession for each child at birth and that children should be working toward that profession from an early age. The concluding page urges children to stop reading the book and “go out and find my big plans for YOU.” Readers with unemployed parents or parents toiling in miserable, unhappy jobs will be forgiven for wondering just where in God’s plan their families fit.

With this ahistorical interpretation, this book shows a disregard for both free will and the gradual maturation of talents and personalities. (Picture book/religion. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-310-72410-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more