ELI REMEMBERS

On each Rosh Hashanah eve, Eli watches his great-grandmother light seven memorial candles, say a prayer and shed a tear over the blessing. Year after year, Eli observes, while not comprehending the sadness his family feels on what should be a happy celebration of the incoming Jewish New Year. His mother and father only tell him “some things are too difficult to talk about.” Following the death of both great-grandparents, Eli takes a trip with his family to Lithuania, the homeland of his ancestors. There they visit the Ponar Forest where a massive gravesite exists for the 100,000 Jews and others who were executed by the Nazi’s during the war. Eli’s introduction to his family’s brutal demise is shocking, yet he quickly understands that it is his turn to remember along with the importance of passing down the stark facts to each succeeding generation. As survivors and the only real witnesses to the Holocaust begin to pass on, educating the young to remember the harsh events of history in order to prevent future genocide is one way to avoid future ambivalence and denial. Although brief, this is a sad, dark, candid look at a boy’s family history coupled with Farnsworth’s equally gloomy blue/gray paintings that evoke a feeling of extreme loss and mourning. While its message is universally significant, its use will be most effective in introductory Holocaust discussions and curriculum. (Picture book. 12-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5309-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

GINGERBREAD BABY

In a snowbound Swiss village, Matti figures it’s a good day to make a gingerbread man. He and his mother mix a batch of gingerbread and tuck it in the oven, but Matti is too impatient to wait ten minutes without peeking. When he opens the door, out pops a gingerbread baby, taunting the familiar refrain, “Catch me if you can.” The brash imp races all over the village, teasing animals and tweaking the noses of the citizenry, until there is a fair crowd on his heels intent on giving him a drubbing. Always he remains just out of reach as he races over the winterscape, beautifully rendered with elegant countryside and architectural details by Brett. All the while, Matti is busy back home, building a gingerbread house to entice the nervy cookie to safe harbor. It works, too, and Matti is able to spirit the gingerbread baby away from the mob. The mischief-maker may be a brat, but the gingerbread cookie is also the agent of good cheer, and Brett allows that spirit to run free on these pages. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23444-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more