THE STORY OF RELIGION

An illustrated synopsis of the genesis and basic ideas of each of the world's major religions, as well as of some minor ones. Among the back matter is a list of sacred books, another of major festivals, and an interesting compilation of the various renderings of the Golden Rule, a form of which exists in almost all systems of belief. Betsy Maestro (with Giulio Maestro, The Discovery of the Americas, 1991, etc.) begins carefully, earnestly preaching the importance of diversity and balance, and taking for granted that religions are not handed down by deities but evolve from a people's own need to find meaning in life. She gallops through primitive religions, and hits her stride when she begins telling about the actual beliefs and histories of various cultures, beginning with the Chinese. Given the space limitations of the picture-book format, these are elegant and precise pieces. Giulio Maestro's beautiful illustrations are done in an array of styles, often reflecting the motifs and palettes of the culture under discussion. Most children will want to know more, but there is no bibliography nor list of further reading. Still, this is, in many ways, a revelatory work and a provocative introduction to a complicated subject. (index) (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 1996

ISBN: 0-395-62364-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1996

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THE STORY OF EASTER

First published in 1968 and newly illustrated by Vitale, this is a history of the Christian celebration of Easter that, after briefly recounting the story of the Resurrection, links the holiday to other spring festivals, covers the ancient custom of giving the gift of an egg (a symbol of the new life of spring), and includes contemporary customs, such as the fashionable stroll down New York City's Fifth Avenue after church on that day. Also included are instructions for egg decoration and a recipe for hot cross buns. Even the recipe demonstrates the clear, informative prose of Fisher, whose expert organization leads from topic to topic. Vitale's illustrations are a marvel; each full-page picture is filled with details that reflect the times, the flora, and the culture of the era shown, colored with a range of appropriate earth tones. Every element of design makes this an inviting addition to the holiday shelf, even for those already owning the original book with Ati Forberg's illustrations. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 1997

ISBN: 0-06-027296-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1996

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A well-intentioned book that does not successfully grapple with the complexity and challenge of its subject matter.

COURAGEOUS WORLD CHANGERS

50 TRUE STORIES OF DARING WOMEN OF GOD

Redmond introduces readers to Christian women from all over the world who made an impact on society.

Well-known political activists, athletes, missionaries, and many more are included along with various other strong and brave women who are less known, such as Ni Kwei-Tseng Soong and Christine Caine. Each of these 50 women has a dedicated spread, with a full-page illustration on recto and text on verso that provides readers with a brief history of her childhood. With this background, readers can understand how each woman has come to be celebrated. In each minibiography, the subject is quoted testifying to God’s presence and influence in her life. While a book dedicated to empowered Christian women is enlightening to read, it portrays all of these women uncomplicatedly as heroes. The view of missionary work it presents is outdated and biased, betraying a fundamental lack of cultural respect and appreciation, a point inadvertently driven home in the profile of Narcissa Whitman, a white woman who, as she wrote, worked for the “salvation” of “benighted [American] Indians.” Probably unsurprisingly, the entry on Pocahontas (depicted in a skimpy buckskin dress) does not acknowledge the traditional Powhatan counternarrative that she was kidnapped and raped rather than voluntarily converting to Christianity.

A well-intentioned book that does not successfully grapple with the complexity and challenge of its subject matter. (Collective biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7369-7734-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Harvest House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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