An electric holiday adventure with an appealing message.

HOLI COLORS!

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

ISBN: 978-0-9977181-5-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Monkeymantra

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Just the thing for anyone with a Grinch-y tree of their own in the yard.

THE HALLOWEEN TREE

A grouchy sapling on a Christmas tree farm finds that there are better things than lights and decorations for its branches.

A Grinch among the other trees on the farm is determined never to become a sappy Christmas tree—and never to leave its spot. Its determination makes it so: It grows gnarled and twisted and needle-less. As time passes, the farm is swallowed by the suburbs. The neighborhood kids dare one another to climb the scary, grumpy-looking tree, and soon, they are using its branches for their imaginative play, the tree serving as a pirate ship, a fort, a spaceship, and a dragon. But in winter, the tree stands alone and feels bereft and lonely for the first time ever, and it can’t look away from the decorated tree inside the house next to its lot. When some parents threaten to cut the “horrible” tree down, the tree thinks, “Not now that my limbs are full of happy children,” showing how far it has come. Happily for the tree, the children won’t give up so easily, and though the tree never wished to become a Christmas tree, it’s perfectly content being a “trick or tree.” Martinez’s digital illustrations play up the humorous dichotomy between the happy, aspiring Christmas trees (and their shoppers) and the grumpy tree, and the diverse humans are satisfyingly expressive.

Just the thing for anyone with a Grinch-y tree of their own in the yard. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-7335-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more