MY FATHER’S HOUSE

A familiar Bible verse from the Book of John (“in my Father’s house are many mansions”) serves as the inspiration for this rhyming text expressing thanks for the wonders of the natural world. This traditional wording is followed throughout the text, with thanks offered to “the Father” without further reference to God. Successive verses describe the beauty and inhabitants of various environments: ocean, tundra, woodland, prairie, rain forest, marsh, desert, mountains and space. Some of the verses succeed as lovely descriptive poetry, but others have ending rhymes that don’t quite work, particularly in the concluding verse. Children will need an adult’s help to understand the symbolic meaning of “mansions” in this context, as well as explanation of a few metaphors, such as porches on mountains or painted kitchen walls in the desert environment. Expressive illustrations in colored pencil and watercolor use a technique mimicking scratchboard, which is attractively echoed in colored background surrounding the text blocks. Colón’s illustrations include people of different ethnic groups and a flowing, surrealistic interpretation of planets, stars and imaginary mansions floating under a rainbow canopy. (Picture book/religion. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-670-03669-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2007

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The true meaning of the holiday season shines here.

RED AND GREEN AND BLUE AND WHITE

Kids teach a valuable lesson about community spirit.

A city block is ablaze with red and green lights for Christmas; one house glows blue and white for Hanukkah. This is where Isaac, a Jewish boy, lives, across the street from best friend Teresa, excitedly preparing for Christmas. They love lighting up their homes in holiday colors. After an antisemitic bigot smashes a window in Isaac’s house, Isaac relights the menorah the next night, knowing if his family doesn’t, it means hiding their Jewishness, which doesn’t “feel right.” Artistic Teresa supports Isaac by drawing a menorah, inscribed to her friend, and placing the picture in her window. What occurs subsequently is a remarkable demonstration of community solidarity for Isaac and his family from everyone, including the media. Galvanized into defiant action against hate, thousands of townspeople display menorahs in windows in residences and public buildings. This quiet, uplifting tale is inspired by an incident that occurred in Billings, Montana, in 1993. Readers will feel heartened at children’s power to influence others to stand up for justice and defeat vile prejudice. The colorful illustrations, rendered digitally with brushes of the artist’s devising, resemble scratch art. Isaac and Teresa are White, and there is some racial diversity among the townspeople; one child is depicted in a wheelchair. An author’s note provides information about the actual event.

The true meaning of the holiday season shines here. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64614-087-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Levine Querido

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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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...

LIFT-THE-FLAP BIBLE STORIES FOR YOUNG CHILDREN

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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