When a girl’s perception of color suddenly transforms, she’s worried she won’t be able to celebrate Holi with her family in this India-set holiday tale.
Maya loves Holi’s multihued decorations, the bonfire, the sweets, and splashing her family and friends with color. After watching the Krishnanattam show, a classical dance retelling the legends of Lord Krishna, with her grandfather, she slips on a kaleidoscope, falls, and is knocked out. When she awakens, the world has gone black, white, and gray—all except the people, whose skin colors are now blues, greens, reds, and more! Maya is distraught—how will she be able celebrate Holi, the festival of colors? But with the help of her friends, she realizes, “Even if all the Holi colors look white, they will still glow on your colorful faces!” Soon, Maya awakens again to realize that her gray world was just a dream, and Holi can go on as planned. Author/illustrator Jatkar takes care in explaining the traditions of a holiday readers may not be familiar with while also allowing the focus to be on the story of Maya’s adventure. The intricate illustrations of Maya’s busy city—awash in a rainbow of hues—are a stark contrast to the black-and-white outlined versions of the same city. One quibble: the font isn’t especially attractive. Although some terms may be unfamiliar, the prose—including dialogue in speech bubbles—is well supported by illustrations that provide contextual clues.
An electric holiday adventure with an appealing message.
Pub Date: Oct. 21, 2020
Page count: 40pp
Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021
As summer approaches, a preschooler presents alphabetical items to her class for show and tell in this debut picture book.
Maya, a brown-skinned preschooler, gets a daunting assignment. In the 26 days leading up to preschool graduation, she must bring a show-and-tell item related to successive letters of the alphabet. Maya is thrilled—but when it’s time for the letter A, a disembodied parental voice reminds her that neither full-size airplanes nor real alligators are practical subjects. Maya settles for an apple. The next day, she is stopped from carrying her baby brother and then a beehive to school. As the letters proceed, Maya must forgo clowns and other entertaining ideas in favor of small—and boring—replacements. Some adult suggestions are reasonable (do not bring a giraffe to class); others may prompt readers to question the rigidity of parental authority (Why can’t a girl dress as a ghost for G?). In between letters, double-page spreads deftly depict Maya’s weekends, which include tricycle racing and bug watching. While Jatkar’s narrative is a bit thin, there is an inspiring trend of Maya and her parent finding more compromises as they near the end of the alphabet—and of the heroine’s vibrant, wide-ranging interests making their way into the classroom. The author’s ink, paper collage, and watercolor illustrations are detailed enough to discuss during storytime—though the small font size used for the dialogue may hinder readers practicing letter recognition.
An intriguing meditation on children’s agency and imagination skillfully paired with early literacy.
Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2019
Page count: 46pp
Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020
HOLI COLORS!: Kirkus Star
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