The prudent message that all Jews are one family rings out clearly and joyfully.

THE ELIJAH DOOR

A PASSOVER TALE

A foolish argument creates a feud that can only be resolved through a wisely engineered pretense.

The Galinskys and the Lippas trade geese and hens with unequal results. When the geese die and an unreasonable misunderstanding ensues, the family elders cut off their longstanding friendship. But David Lippa and Rachel Galinsky, like Romeo and Juliet, wish to marry. They seek the Rabbi’s advice to bring the two families together and involve the rest of the villagers in a ruse to gain invitations from their feuding parents for the yearly Passover Seder. “One by one the neighbors came…. pleading injury, poverty, bad planning, or broken dishes.” Preparations for the mammoth ceremonial dinner include a lot of furniture—stretching from each family’s house until two long, winding tables almost connect between backyards. Heeding the Rabbi’s plea for joyous celebration “in our love for each other,” the feud ends, with the Rabbi’s own table unifying the two dinners before the Seder begins. But how to welcome Elijah outside? David and Rachel go back inside to open the unused front door for the symbolic gesture. Old-world storytelling depicting a bygone era of Eastern European shtetl life is augmented by folk-art–inspired, roughly detailed woodcuts hand-colored with watercolor inks.

The prudent message that all Jews are one family rings out clearly and joyfully. (Picture book/religion. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8234-1911-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area.

RED AND LULU

A pair of cardinals is separated and then reunited when their tree home is moved to New York City to serve as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

The male cardinal, Red, and his female partner, Lulu, enjoy their home in a huge evergreen tree located in the front yard of a small house in a pleasant neighborhood. When the tree is cut down and hauled away on a truck, Lulu is still inside the tree. Red follows the truck into the city but loses sight of it and gets lost. The birds are reunited when Red finds the tree transformed with colored lights and serving as the Christmas tree in a complex of city buildings. When the tree is removed after Christmas, the birds find a new home in a nearby park. Each following Christmas, the pair visit the new tree erected in the same location. Attractive illustrations effectively handle some difficult challenges of dimension and perspective and create a glowing, magical atmosphere for the snowy Christmas trees. The original owners of the tree are a multiracial family with two children; the father is African-American and the mother is white. The family is in the background in the early pages, reappearing again skating on the rink at Rockefeller Center with their tree in the background.

A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7733-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Kid-friendly dark humor.

POULTRYGEIST

The chicken crosses the road…and arrives on the other side as a ghost.

The action kicks off before the title page when the chicken crossing the road winds up a splatter of feathers against the grille of a tractor trailer. When its ghost rises from the squished remains, it meets a host of other animal ghosts that encourage the new poultrygeist to start getting scary. They probably didn’t realize, however, that they’d be the ones to be frightened. Geron’s text is full of punny lines like “It’s time to get foul, fowl!” and “Ghosts of a feather haunt together!” Midway through, the poultrygeist turns to readers to make sure they’re not too scared. This is a nice touch, maintaining engagement while also giving more timid readers time to take a beat. Oswald’s illustrations display masterful use of color, with bright, ghostly animals against a dark, often all-black background, the dialogue shown in colors that correspond to the speakers. These ghosts do become scary but not enough to completely terrorize readers. Oswald’s skill is seen in full effect, as readers witness only the animal ghosts’ reactions to the poultrygeist’s scariest face, building suspense for the full reveal. This book is just right for kids easing into the slightly scary and macabre but who still want a safe and fun read.

Kid-friendly dark humor. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1050-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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