An electric holiday adventure with an appealing message.

HOLI COLORS!

When a girl’s perception of color suddenly transforms, she’s worried she won’t be able to celebrate Holi with her family in this India-set holiday tale.

Maya loves Holi’s multihued decorations, the bonfire, the sweets, and splashing her family and friends with color. After watching the Krishnanattam show, a classical dance retelling the legends of Lord Krishna, with her grandfather, she slips on a kaleidoscope, falls, and is knocked out. When she awakens, the world has gone black, white, and gray—all except the people, whose skin colors are now blues, greens, reds, and more! Maya is distraught—how will she be able celebrate Holi, the festival of colors? But with the help of her friends, she realizes, “Even if all the Holi colors look white, they will still glow on your colorful faces!” Soon, Maya awakens again to realize that her gray world was just a dream, and Holi can go on as planned. Author/illustrator Jatkar takes care in explaining the traditions of a holiday readers may not be familiar with while also allowing the focus to be on the story of Maya’s adventure. The intricate illustrations of Maya’s busy city—awash in a rainbow of hues—are a stark contrast to the black-and-white outlined versions of the same city. One quibble: the font isn’t especially attractive. Although some terms may be unfamiliar, the prose—including dialogue in speech bubbles—is well supported by illustrations that provide contextual clues.

An electric holiday adventure with an appealing message.

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-9977181-5-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Monkeymantra

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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The feelings of community and togetherness are palpable.

SNOW GLOBE WISHES

When a snowstorm blows through town, it knocks out power and sends evening commuters scurrying for the safety and warmth of home.

But in the electricity-free night, one family turns the darkness into an opportunity to slow down and enjoy time together. This charming story follows the evening of an interracial family of four: a brown-skinned and dark-haired woman, little girl, and little boy, and a man presenting as white with light-colored skin and light hair. They have a candlelit picnic of Chinese takeout next to a blazing fireplace and decorated Christmas tree. The family enjoys the rest of the quiet snowy evening beneath a blanket fort in which they sleep together, cat and dog bundled in as well. The next morning, they and the rest of the community go out to play in the snow. The final spread in the book depicts the family’s cat and dog looking at the happy human tableau, now within the snow globe, which reads “Peace on Earth.” The muted colors, simple, childlike renderings, and happy characters make this book about a snowstorm feel warm and cozy—think hygge in picture-book form. Aside from the star-topped, decorated tree and the “Peace on Earth” message, often associated with Christmas, there are no religious symbols used in the book.

The feelings of community and togetherness are palpable. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-53411-031-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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Action, clever humor, delightful illustrations and expectation-defying secret identities—when does the next one come out?

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THE PRINCESS IN BLACK

From the Princess in Black series , Vol. 1

Perfect Princess Magnolia has a secret—her alter ego is the Princess in Black, a superhero figure who protects the kingdom!

When nosy Duchess Wigtower unexpectedly drops by Princess Magnolia’s castle, Magnolia must protect her secret identity from the duchess’s prying. But then Magnolia’s monster alarm, a glitter-stone ring, goes off. She must save the day, leaving the duchess unattended in her castle. After a costume change, the Princess in Black joins her steed, Blacky (public identity: Frimplepants the unicorn), to protect Duff the goat boy and his goats from a shaggy, blue, goat-eating monster. When the monster refuses to see reason, Magnolia fights him, using special moves like the “Sparkle Slam” and the “Twinkle Twinkle Little Smash.” The rounded, cartoony illustrations featuring chubby characters keep the fight sequence soft and comical. Watching the fight, Duff notices suspicious similarities between the Princess in Black and Magnolia—quickly dismissed as “a silly idea”—much like the duchess’s dismissal of some discovered black stockings as being simply dirty, as “princesses don’t wear black.” The gently ironic text will amuse readers (including adults reading the book aloud). The large print and illustrations expand the book to a longish-yet-manageable length, giving newly independent readers a sense of accomplishment. The ending hints at another hero, the Goat Avenger.

Action, clever humor, delightful illustrations and expectation-defying secret identities—when does the next one come out? (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6510-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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