Darling new friends with sweet life lessons for new readers.

A WINDY SPRING DAY

GOD GIVES US FRIENDS WHEN WE'RE AFRAID

From the Tales of Buttercup Grove series

Dunham introduces readers to Skunk, Raccoon, and their woodland friends in this new early-reader series.

When wind rips through the forest and meadows of Buttercup Grove, Skunk is frightened and anxious. Holed up in his windblown home, on his cozy sofa, Skunk calls for his brave friend Raccoon to come over and help alleviate his fear. Raccoon has an idea for a surprise, something that he and Skunk can make together and that may just make the wind far less frightening as well: a kite! By dint of compassionate friendship and a little creativity, the fearful wind is transformed into a plaything. Companion title Sunflower Summer continues in this vein with a focus on developing patience as the friends from Buttercup Grove expectantly await the full bloom of their summer sunflower garden. Sparks’ charming watercolor-and-ink illustrations accompany the limited-vocabulary text to provide interest and context clues for beginning readers. Though quotes from Scripture at the end of each title point readers toward relevant Christian teachings (Psalms for this title, Romans for Sunflower Summer), the positive character-building messages will likely appeal to readers of other backgrounds as well.

Darling new friends with sweet life lessons for new readers. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7369-7200-0

Page Count: 66

Publisher: Harvest House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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Both a celebration of and an introduction to the mosque.

IN MY MOSQUE

Children welcome readers into different mosques to learn about varying activities and services that take place in them.

Though many different mosques and children are depicted, the voices call readers’ attention to the similarities among Muslim communities around the world. Yuksel highlights the community eating together; women, men, and children sharing the space and praying together; grandfathers thumbing their tasbihs; grandmothers reading the Quran; aunties giving hugs; children playing. The effect is to demonstrate that a mosque is more than just a building but rather a space where children and adults come together to pray, give, learn, and play. Joyful characters describe what happens in simple, poetic language: “In my mosque, the muezzin’s call to prayer echoes in the air. I stand shoulder to shoulder with my friends, linked like one long chain.” Aly’s bright illustrations pair well with Yuksel’s words, ending with a beautiful spread of children staring at readers, waving and extending their hands: “You are welcome in my mosque.” The variety of mosques included suggests that each has its own unique architecture, but repeating geometric patterns and shapes underscore that there are similarities too. The author’s note guides readers to her website for more information on the mosques depicted; they are not labeled, which is frustrating since the backmatter also includes a tantalizing list of famous mosques on every continent except Antarctica.

Both a celebration of and an introduction to the mosque. (glossary, sources) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-297870-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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With a universal message of love and community, this book offers a beautiful representation of a too-often-overlooked...

MOMMY'S KHIMAR

From a debut author-and-illustrator team comes a glimpse into a young American Muslim girl’s family and community as she walks around in “Mommy’s khimar,” or headscarf.

The star of this sunny picture book is a young girl who finds joy in wearing her mother’s khimar, imagining it transforms her into a queen, a star, a mama bird, a superhero. At the core of the story is the love between the girl and her mother. The family appears to be African-American, with brown skin and textured hair. The girl’s braids and twists “form a bumpy crown” under the khimar, which smells of coconut oil and cocoa butter. Adults in her life delight in her appearance in the bright yellow khimar, including her Arabic teacher at the mosque, who calls it a “hijab,” and her grandmother, who visits after Sunday service and calls out “Sweet Jesus!” as she scoops her granddaughter into her arms. Her grandmother is, apparently, a Christian, but “We are a family and we love each other just the same.” The illustrations feature soft pastel colors with dynamic lines and gently patterned backgrounds that complement the story’s joyful tone. The words are often lyrical, and the story artfully includes many cultural details that will delight readers who share the cheerful protagonist’s culture and enlighten readers who don’t.

With a universal message of love and community, this book offers a beautiful representation of a too-often-overlooked cultural group . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0059-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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