Children are sure to pore over the pages…and put those three tips to good use.



From the Highlights Hidden Pictures Storybook series

A “Hidden Pictures” game enhances this tale of Noah’s Ark.

Even those unfamiliar with Highlights magazine or its find-the-hidden-objects pages will immediately glean the idea from the cover, which uses smooth, shiny embossing to highlight items hidden in plain sight—a ruler amid the planks of the ark, a teacup/elephant ear, a puff of wind in the shape of a ladle. Surrounding each page’s text, which relates the biblical story in easy yet satisfying language, are the pictures of the items readers need to find. Their job is made easier by the facts that the items are rendered in the color they appear in the illustration and that the illustrations feature simpler details and a much larger scale than those found in the magazine’s busy, black-and-white scenes. When the animals board the ark and then disembark, Bateman reverts to a pleasing rhyming verse (the same both times) that lists the animals’ actions: “The giraffes towered. / The elephants swayed. / The monkeys chittered. / The donkeys brayed.” And God’s repeated refrain to Noah is sure to strike a chord with little listeners who similarly feel out of their depths: “Just do your best, and I’ll do the rest.” An answer key in the backmatter not only both lists the items and highlights where they are hiding in the thumbnails, but also provides three tips for searching for that elusive final item.

Children are sure to pore over the pages…and put those three tips to good use. (Picture book/religion. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64472-118-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Highlights Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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Younger audiences may be mostly interested in the bonking and stinky parts, but the rudiments are at least in place for...


Ten tales from the Old and New Testaments, with plot points and lessons hidden beneath large, shaped flaps.

Higgins depicts Jesus as a bit larger than those around him but otherwise draws him and the rest of the cast—including angels—with similar-looking round heads, wide-open eyes, slightly crooked beards (on the men), and dark brown or olive skin. Cycling arbitrarily among various tenses, the abbreviated, sanitized, and informally retold episodes begin in “a garden” with the tree, most of Adam and Eve, and the “tricky serpent” who “will trick them” initially hidden beneath die-cut flaps. Lifting the largest reveals the disobedient first couple sporting flashy animal-skin togs and text that promises that “God had a plan to save people from sin.” After Noah boards the “crowded, noisy, and stinky” ark, Moses leads the escape from plague-ridden Egypt (“Frogs and locusts! Yucky sores and flies!”), and “David bonks Goliath.” God’s promise eventually bears fruit with the birth and select miracles of Jesus. In the climactic scene, three distant crosses hide beneath a flap that depicts Jerusalem, while behind a tomb in the foreground an angel literally fizzes with fireworks. Beneath a bush readers see Mary (Magdalen) weeping until the risen Jesus (beneath another bush) gives her a hug: “Go tell the disciples that I am alive!”

Younger audiences may be mostly interested in the bonking and stinky parts, but the rudiments are at least in place for homiletic discussion. (Novelty/religion. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5064-4684-4

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Beaming Books

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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Jesus pops up.

“It had been three days since Jesus died on a cross, and his friends were sad.” So Traini (The Life of Martin Luther, 2017) opens his ingenuously retold version of the first Easter. Beginning with two unnamed women clambering down a rocky hill to the graveyard, each of the seven tableaux features human figures with oversized eyes, light brown skin, and solemn or awed expressions posing in a sparsely decorated setting. The women hurry off at the behest of the angel lounging casually in a tomb bedecked with large crystals and fossil seashells to inform the “other disciples” of what’s happened. Along the way the women meet Jesus himself (“Greetings, my friends!”), who goes on to urge disciples “hiding inside a locked room” to touch his discreetly wounded hands. He later shares breakfast (“fish, of course!”) with Peter and others, then ascends from a mountaintop to heaven. Though the 3-D art and the flashes of irreverence set this sketchy rendition of the story apart from more conventional versions, the significance of the event never really comes clear…nor can it match for depth of feeling the stately likes of Jan Pienkowski’s Easter (1983). In the final scene Pentecostal flames appear over the heads of the disciples, leaving them endowed with the gift of tongues and eager to spread the “good news about Jesus!”

Skip. (Pop-up picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5064-3340-0

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Sparkhouse

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

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