A diverse, offbeat, and amusing tale.

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Jatkar’s picture book tells a modern tale of ice cream making, rooted in Indian folklore.

The main story is prefaced by the Hindu tale of Bakaasur, a human-devouring demon who terrorizes villagers and is killed by Bheem, a visiting king. Then, in a more modern scene, seven young cousins play at their Amma and Baba’s house on a hot day. Suddenly, Baba announces, “Let’s make ice cream!” The children hide because they know that Baba will insist on using his own hand-powered ice cream maker, which they’ve dubbed Bakaasur. The family members, who have varying skin tones, prepare by sourcing milk, rock salt, and ice. Baba makes a schedule, Amma combines an assortment of ingredients, including almonds and cinnamon, and the laborious endeavor begins. Then the old machine conks out. When a rigged-up rickshaw can’t get the machine to churn, Amma and the children formulate a new plan. Many kids love ice cream, so the subtitle of this book may be enough to woo reluctant young readers. It may particularly interest those who may be unfamiliar with the tradition of churning one’s own ice cream as a family event spanning the majority of a day. The stylized, detailed full-color depictions of rickshaws, spices, the marketplace, and customary clothing bring vibrancy and authenticity to the pages.

A diverse, offbeat, and amusing tale.

Pub Date: April 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-9977181-2-6

Page Count: 46

Publisher: Monkey Mantra

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022


Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005


Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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