Anodyne at best.

READ REVIEW

FARMER FALGU GOES TO THE KUMBH MELA

From the Farmer Falgu series

Farmer Falgu is off to the Kumbh Mela festival in the third title in Soundar’s series about the titular protagonist.

Falgu, an adult, brown-skinned Indian farmer, is excited to travel to Allahabad to catch the key highlights of the Kumbh Mela, such as the sadhu procession and the elephant parade, and to take a dip in the holy river, but he keeps getting called on to help other people. He puts others needs before his, and so, unfortunately he misses what he goes for. Luckily for him, through a number of happy coincidences, he manages to complete his Kumbh Mela bucket list. While sharing a positive message of kindness, the story seem too good to be true. Even young children are likely to see through the perfect plot. A train delay and sheer serendipity enable Falgu to catch the Kumbh Mela highlights. He even randomly meets his best friend in the train—who happens to have extra lassi and jalebis for Falgu. Like other books in the series, the concise onomatopoeic sounds are set in large, color-coded type, which provides additional emphasis. Nair’s bold, thick-outlined illustrations are engaging but do not tie in to the story adequately at times. A note at the end about the Kumbh Mela provides additional context.

Anodyne at best. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-81-8190-355-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Karadi Tales

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

Our Verdict

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BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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