SACRED SONG OF THE HERMIT THRUSH

A NATIVE AMERICAN LEGEND

A Mohawk pourquoi tale explains how the hermit thrush and other birds got their songs.

“Long ago, the Birds had no songs,” the story opens; only humans sang. On a visit to Earth, the Good Spirit notices the silence until he hears chanting coming from “an Indian village,” depicted as several longhouses, smoke rising gently above them. The Good Spirit decides to give song to the birds, calling them together and telling them, “You are to fly as high as you can….The Bird that flies the highest will have the most beautiful song.” Hermit Thrush knows he has no chance against stronger flyers such as Akweks, the bald eagle, so he sneaks under the eagle’s feathers and rides up till even Akweks can fly no higher. Thus only Hermit Thrush is able to reach the Spirit World, from which he descends with the most beautiful song—and sudden, crushing shame at his trickery. “That is why Hermit Thrush is so shy.” Illustrator Fadden (Akwesasne Mohawk) is the grandson of the author, a teacher at the St. Regis Mohawk School who was adopted into the Mohawk Wolf Clan and given the name Tehanetorens. (He died in 2008.) The telling is stately, with a steady, oral cadence. The dappled paintings offer field guide–worthy images of the bird characters and depict the Good Spirit with brown skin and long, straight black hair.

Lovely. (Picture book/religion. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-939053-26-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: 7th Generation

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world.

DON'T LET THEM DISAPPEAR

An appeal to share concern for 12 familiar but threatened, endangered, or critically endangered animal species.

The subjects of Marino’s intimate, close-up portraits—fairly naturalistically rendered, though most are also smiling, glancing up at viewers through human eyes, and posed at rest with a cute youngling on lap or flank—steal the show. Still, Clinton’s accompanying tally of facts about each one’s habitat and daily routines, to which the title serves as an ongoing refrain, adds refreshingly unsentimental notes: “A single giraffe kick can kill a lion!”; “[S]hivers of whale sharks can sense a drop of blood if it’s in the water nearby, though they eat mainly plankton.” Along with tucking in collective nouns for each animal (some not likely to be found in major, or any, dictionaries: an “embarrassment” of giant pandas?), the author systematically cites geographical range, endangered status, and assumed reasons for that status, such as pollution, poaching, or environmental change. She also explains the specific meaning of “endangered” and some of its causes before closing with a set of doable activities (all uncontroversial aside from the suggestion to support and visit zoos) and a list of international animal days to celebrate.

A winning heads up for younger readers just becoming aware of the wider natural world. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51432-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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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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