A glorious choice for reading aloud.

NOAH'S ARK

Pinkney, at his grandest, matches a poetically phrased text—the Ark “rose over their heads. It rose over the treetops. The strong wooden beams embraced the clouds”—with sweeping spreads of dappled paintings that capture brilliantly the hugeness of the Ark a-building, the wonder of so many creatures gathering peaceably to crowd aboard, and the closing glory of a planet festooned with rainbows as signs of God’s promise to the Charlton Heston–like Noah.

Of the making of Noahs there seems to be no end, but while other recent versions of the tale put Noah’s family on center stage, or feature realistically depicted animals or humorous touches, this brings out the vast scale of the flood: “The water rose over cities and towns. Whales swam down ruined streets. Schools of fish darted through empty windows.” But turn the page and there inside “everyone was safe.” Filling his pages with lovely earth tones, Pinkney’s occasional use of color stands out all the more: a baboon’s multicolored nose, a bright blue robe, a bright red apple, or a bird’s brilliant plumage. And then there’s all that water.

A glorious choice for reading aloud. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 978-1-58717-201-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: SeaStar/North-South

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

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THE NIGHT OF LAS POSADAS

A wondrous occurrence, an ancient tradition, and an elderly nun’s abiding faith are the basis of this moving Chirstmas tale from dePaola (26 Fairmount Avenue, p. 629, etc.). Sister Angie is overjoyed when her niece Lupe and her husband are selected to play Mary and Joseph—here, Maria and José—for Las Posadas, the reenactment of the journey into Bethlehem. When Sister Angie becomes ill and Lupe and Roberto become stranded in a heavy snowstorm, it seems as if the celebration will be delayed. However, a couple arrives just in time to take the place of the missing players. The whole village participates in the procession, from the singers who follow Mary and Joseph, to the “devils” who attempt to prevent the weary travelers from finding lodging. After several rebuffs, the couple arrives at the gates of the courtyard; these open and the entire assembly enters to celebrate. When Lupe and Roberto finally show up, the other couple is nowhere to be found. The story takes a supernatural twist when Sister Angie discovers that the figures in the church’s manger scene have come to life, temporarily, for the procession. The mysteries and miracles of the season are kept at bay; this simple narrative spells everything out, resulting in a primer on the tradition. Richly hued, luminescent illustrations radiate from the pages; an introduction and author’s note provide additional information. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23400-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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Stick with Kimmel’s many other, vastly superior, Hanukkah books.

SHIELD OF THE MACCABEES

A HANUKKAH GRAPHIC NOVEL

A Greek boy and a Judean boy become unlikely friends at the time of the Hanukkah story.

In Jason and Jonathan’s Judea, the Greek colonizers and the Jews they rule over live in a somewhat troubled peace. They go to different schools and speak different languages, but people are allowed to live and worship as they please. Nonetheless, many Judeans (mostly illustrated with brown or olive skin and dark hair) resent the Greeks (mostly light-skinned, many with pale yellow hair). In this fraught balance, Jonathan and Jason bond over the important things in life: teaching each other slick wrestling moves, playing discus, and discussing the nature of the divine. Jonathan accompanies Jason to Greek school, while Jason joins Jonathan’s family for (somewhat anachronistic) religious celebrations. But their fragile friendship comes to an end when wicked King Antiochus blames the Jews for his own troubles. The boys are pulled into the bloody war that paves the way for the Maccabean victory and the Hanukkah miracle. An author’s note speaks to the aim of reaching for the real history behind the tropes of this most widely known Jewish holiday, but the tale still owes vastly more to myth than to history. The clunky, oddly proportioned comics panels, with blocky but movement-filled composition, don’t complement the philosophical narrative.

Stick with Kimmel’s many other, vastly superior, Hanukkah books. (historical note) (Graphic historical fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68115-571-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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