SONG OF CREATION

Caldecott Medalist Goble has created a stunning prayer of praise with his interpretation of the Benedicite from The Book of Common Prayer. The calming, repetitive text follows the same pattern throughout the work, naming all the forces of nature and many of the creatures and plants of the earth, with the same repeating refrain. (“O you stars of heaven, bless you the Lord: praise him, and magnify him forever.”) This same prayer is repeated within many illustrations in smaller type for individual creatures. Goble’s instantly recognizable illustration style is at its best, from the herd of charging wild horses on the cover to the snowy mountain on the final page. Several breathtaking spreads show an entire environment: a sky full of birds, an underwater scene with different species of fish, the Great Plains filled with hundreds of buffalo. Notes at the front of the volume indicate the sources and offer a short commentary on the religious significance of the text. (Picture book/nonfiction. 3-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8028-5271-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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A visually striking, compelling recollection.

FROM THE TOPS OF THE TREES

The author recounts a formative childhood experience that continues to inspire her today.

Born to Hmong refugees, Kalia has only ever known the confines of the Ban Vinai refugee camp in Thailand. Even while playing with her cousins, reminders of the hardships of their life are always present. She overhears the aunties sharing their uncertainty and fear of the future. They are a people with no home country and are still trying to find peace. Kalia asks her father why they live behind a gate and wonders what lies beyond the fences that surround the camp. The next day they climb a tall tree, and he shows her the vast expanse around them, from familiar camp landmarks to distant mountains “where the sky meets earth.” This story of resilience and generational hope is told in an expressive, straightforward narrative style. The simplicity of the text adds a level of poignancy that moves readers to reflection. The layered and heavily textured illustrations complement the text while highlighting the humanity of the refugees and providing a quiet dignity to camp life. The militarylike color palette of olive greens, golden yellows, and rich browns reinforces the guarded atmosphere but also represents the transitional period from winter to spring, a time ripe with anticipation and promise.

A visually striking, compelling recollection. (author's note, glossary, map.) (Picture book/memoir. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5415-8130-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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This magic feels true.

THE WISHING TREE

Theo’s wish for a more-joyful Christmas is fulfilled in unexpected ways.

With Christmas only three days away, the street outside Theo’s window is quiet and dark. Theo decides that instead of asking Santa for toys, he has just one wish for Christmas. Crumpling up his original list, he writes a new letter, and while he sleeps, the wind pulls his letter out the window and through the air all the way to the North Pole. The next day, Theo is out playing in the snow when he finds a huge pine tree with the words Property of the North Pole carved into its trunk. From the tree falls a letter: “Bring joy.” Later that day, Theo decides to decorate the town. The next day, another message from the tree says, “Find harmony.” That night, he decides to go caroling and is joined by neighbor after neighbor. On Christmas, his parents have to work, and Theo is sad. His grandma decides that maybe the neighbors will want to brighten his Christmas as he brightened theirs. They do, and by night’s end, Theo introduces them all to the wishing tree. Theo, who, like his whole family, presents Black, is a sweet, sympathetic protagonist readers will feel for as he seeks to make Christmas special. The example of individual joy being tied to community joy is timely and heartfelt. The blue-and-gold–themed illustrations bring the season to life. A dozen punch-out cards are included for the book’s purchasers to make their own wishing trees. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This magic feels true. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-274716-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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