LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH

AND LET IT BEGIN WITH ME

A popular peace anthem makes its picture-book debut, with simple lyrics celebrating the hope for a better world. In 1955, a group of 180 teenagers linked arms and hearts and sang this song. It has since been recorded by numerous artists, strummed around campfires and used as a theme for UNICEF. In radiant, familiar Diaz style, peace symbols from around the world illuminate the text. Glowing white doves settle next to curling tufts of grass, while fiery red cranes fly overhead. Teaching world peace is inarguably worthwhile. But the purpose of this song isn’t to explain peace; instead, it is a call to individual action. The words “let it begin with me” are powerful—even children can do their part. Will the song resonate as much with young readers as it did with the original teenagers who first banded together? Likely not. But kids play a vital role in changing this world. The more quickly they learn that everyone can make a difference, the better. (CD, sheet music, history of song and composers, list of peace symbols) (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-58246-285-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2009

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THE TRUE GIFT

A CHRISTMAS STORY

Newbery Medalist MacLachlan offers a quietly moving Christmas story that illustrates the power of children to change their world. Lily, the first-person narrator, and her younger brother, Liam, spend every Christmas vacation at their grandparents’ farm. Liam wants to buy a cow as a companion for the family’s pet, White Cow, who seems lonely out in the field by herself. By Christmas Eve, Liam has raised enough money to buy a calf companion, but there is also a Christmas surprise of several cow visitors brought by neighbors to keep White Cow company for the holiday. MacLachlan uses her typical taciturn style featuring dialogue and minimal description to convey the intense feelings of the sensitive little boy trying to accomplish a seemingly impossible task. Floca’s delicate, full-page pencil illustrations complement the text with understated emotion. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-9081-9

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2009

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A Christmas cozy, read straight or bit by bit through the season.

HOW WINSTON DELIVERED CHRISTMAS

Neither snow nor rain nor mountains of yummy cheese stay the carrier of a letter to Santa.

So carelessly does 8-year-old Oliver stuff his very late letter to Santa into the mailbox that it falls out behind his back—leaving Winston, a “small, grubby white mouse” with an outsized heart, determined to deliver it personally though he has no idea where to go. Smith presents Winston’s Christmas Eve trek in 24 minichapters, each assigned a December “day” and all closing with both twists or cliffhangers and instructions (mostly verbal, unfortunately) for one or more holiday-themed recipes or craft projects. Though he veers occasionally into preciosity (Winston “tried to ignore the grumbling, rumbling noises coming from his tummy”), he also infuses his holiday tale with worthy values. Occasional snowy scenes have an Edwardian look appropriate to the general tone, with a white default in place but a few dark-skinned figures in view. Less-crafty children will struggle with the scantly illustrated projects, which run from paper snowflakes to clothespin dolls and Christmas crackers with or without “snaps,” but lyrics to chestnuts like “The 12 Days of Christmas” (and “Jingle Bells,” which is not a Christmas song, but never mind) at the end invite everyone to sing along.

A Christmas cozy, read straight or bit by bit through the season. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68412-983-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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