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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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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