In first-time children’s author Pakzaban’s gently off-the-wall picture book, a little boy with an obsessive attachment to his tailor-made fancy pants learns a lesson in generosity and friendship.

Palace-dweller Pierre’s obsession with fashion begins as an infant when his mother embroiders his diapers with the initials LFP—short for Lord Fancy Pants. As he grows, Pierre lives up to his nickname, “insisting that his mother embroider giant letters in gold thread on the bottom of all of his fancy pants,” that “the best seamstress in the kingdom” be hired “to make beautiful clothes only for him,” and that his jackets be cut short in back to show his scrolled initials worked in gold thread. Strolling through the village to show off his fancy pants and shopping for silks and velvets in the village bazaar, LFP is the envy of the other children, and soon fancy pants become all the rage. (Lemaire’s pleasant watercolor-style illustrations render LFP’s adventures in sartorial splendor with a suitably light touch.) But when LFP snubs a village boy for wearing plain brown pants, and then oversees the creation of his own fanciest pair of pants yet, a lesson is in the offing. LFP’s new pants are so heavily encrusted with jewels he can hardly walk (“His pants were stiff and went all the way up to his underarms. They were ballooned at the knees in big billowy gold poofs”), and even his previously overindulgent parents laugh at the sight. The author’s not-so-subtle themes of sharing and friendship—and the other side of the coin, vanity and materialism—lead to a wiser Pierre when a mishap at the river involving his puppy leads to a rescue by the boy he snubbed earlier. Happy to have a friend to play with, Pierre generously donates his “old silly fancy pants” to all the children in the village, while the author offers a reassuring little twist at the end to say that caring about one’s appearance isn’t a bad thing and that it can be a boy thing, too. The author might consider, however, adding a line or two to show that LFP’s royal parents, who aided and abetted their son’s fancy-pants obsession from birth, learned a needed lesson, too.

An inventive take on the perils of excess and the pleasures of bigheartedness.

Pub Date: July 10, 2014

ISBN: 978-1493713738

Page Count: 38

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Mary's Song

From the Dream Horse Adventure Series series , Vol. 1

A novel tells the story of two spirited girls who set out to save a lame foal in 1952.

Mary, age 12, lacks muscle control of her legs and must use a wheelchair. Her life is constantly interrupted by trips with her widower father to assorted doctors, all of whom have failed to help her. Mary tolerates the treatments, hoping to one day walk unassisted, but her true passion involves horses. Possessing a library filled with horse books, she loves watching and drawing the animals at a neighboring farm. She longs to own one herself. But her father, overprotective due to her disability and his own lingering grief over Mary’s dead mother, makes her keep her distance. Mary befriends Laura, the emotionally neglected daughter of the wealthy neighboring farm owners, and the two share secret buggy rides. Both girls are attracted to Illusion, a beautiful red bay filly on the farm. Mary learns that Illusion is to be put down by a veterinarian because of a lame leg. Horrified, she decides to talk to the barn manager about the horse (“Isn’t it okay for her to live even if she’s not perfect? I think she deserves a chance”). Soon, Mary and Laura attempt to raise money to save Illusion. At the same time, Mary begins to gain control of her legs thanks to water therapy and secret therapeutic riding with Laura. There is indeed a great deal of poignancy in a story of a girl with a disability fighting to defend the intrinsic value of a lame animal. But this book, the first installment of the Dream Horse Adventure Series, would be twice as touching if Mary interacted with Illusion more. In the tale’s opening, she watches the foal from afar, but she actually spends very little time with the filly she tries so hard to protect. This turns out to be a strange development given the degree to which the narrative relies on her devotion. Count (Selah’s Sweet Dream, 2015) draws Mary and Laura in broad but believable strokes, defined mainly by their unrelenting pluckiness in the face of adversity. While the work tackles disability, death, and grief, Mary’s and Laura’s environments are so idyllic and their optimism and perseverance so remarkable that the story retains an aura of uncomplicated gentleness throughout.

A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Hastings Creations Group

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2016

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A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.



A highly organized, informative discussion of the immigration system in the United States.

In this politically charged environment, Afrasiabi manages to broach the volatile issue of immigration in a well-rounded, surprisingly effective framework that combines case studies, historical research, statistical analysis and personal anecdotes to detail the current issues and propose solutions. Invocations of Kafka, “The Twilight Zone” and “Alice in Wonderland” prove warranted as illustrations of the often surreal circumstances that confront immigrants facing deportation. Immigrants usually lack access to quality legal representation, while their situation can be made doubly difficult due to language barriers and significant cultural differences. Afrasiabi incorporates his work with colleagues and students at the Chapman University School of Law to deftly weave together the facts of several compelling cases and their underlying legal issues, with a genuine sense of suspense as readers wonder if justice will be truly be served. Occasionally, though, the narrative becomes overwrought—two federal laws passed in 1996 are “dark storm clouds depositing their sleet”—although, considering the life-changing effects of court decisions, it’s difficult to overstate the ramifications: extralegal rendition of individuals with pending cases and the de facto deportation of native-born children whose parents are deported. Afrasiabi also addresses the legacy of various anti-alien laws in California, as well as marriage equality for same-sex couples when one partner is a noncitizen. As the subtitle asserts, Afrasiabi employs his additional experience in the field of property law to contrast the stark differences between immigration judges and constitutional judges, like their qualifications, vetting processes and even the oaths they take. His arguments culminate in seven concrete reforms proposed in the conclusion. In order to make the immigration system more just and effective, Afrasiabi claims the solutions are closer than we may think; we can implement procedures and safeguards already in place within the constitutional courts.

A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

Pub Date: May 1, 2012


Page Count: 249

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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