The vibrant colors and kid-friendly character design are sure to draw kids; librarians and parents will applaud the...

GOKUL VILLAGE AND THE MAGIC FOUNTAIN

From the Gokul! Adventures series

Six kids with diverse talents and of diverse ethnicities team up to fix a broken fountain and discover its magic in this picture-book series starter from debut author team Chapman and Das, with vibrant illustrations by veteran Chua (How Nivi Got Her Names, 2017).

The fountain in the center of Gokul village has lost its former glory. Its pipes are clogged, and the orbs that decorate its rim are grimy. But to Zoya, Christopher, Riya, Dalai, Noelle, and Jacob, it’s a place that inspires them to create, all in different ways. All six have a special talent, and they meet at the fountain to enjoy their friendship. When the mayor threatens to cancel the New Year’s festival because the fountain is so old and broken, the kids restore their fountain, and it magically gives them each a wish—and a journey to different New Year’s celebrations around the world. Though each child has a different heritage, beautifully emphasized in the illustrations by their clothing choices, the architecture of the buildings in Gokul village, and the religious symbols they restore to the fountain, the text doesn’t make their diversity feel unusual. Instead, appreciating one another’s cultures is the norm. Oddly, the New Year’s celebrations listed happen at different times of year (Chinese New Year, Diwali, and New Year’s Eve), making the village’s resulting New Year’s celebration mixed up rather than multicultural.

The vibrant colors and kid-friendly character design are sure to draw kids; librarians and parents will applaud the celebration of teamwork and normalized cultural diversity.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-692-91738-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Big Bold Beautiful World Media

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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