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A lighthearted, beautifully illustrated lesson on appreciating multiplicity through a Hindu lens.

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Hindu deities argue over who has the best beast transport in this children’s picture book.

In Hindu mythology, the term vaahana, usually translated as mount or vehicle,refers to the animals that carry deities around. As explained in rhyming verse, eight divine children gather to play but then start debating the merits of their vaahana, each claiming theirs is the best. For example, Vishnu praises his eagle vaahana for its speed and strength, while Sariswati’s swan is said to be “the most perfect mix / Of beauty, brains, and brawn.” After a lengthy argument, the deities hear laughter nearby, which turns out to be the sound of their vaahana playing happily together; as far as they’re concerned, their differences don’t matter. The deities, “humbled and impressed,” decide to carry their vaahana home that day. In his third picture book,Jatkar entertainingly introduces elements of Hindu mythology, providing helpful character lists with pronunciations. Although the verses doesn’t always scan well due to inconsistent meters, the text vigorously conveys the mounts’ qualities. Durga’s lion, for example, “can crush many a bone / In his magnificent jaws!” The author’s collagelike, full-color images depict richly patterned characters that are all the more vibrant against the pages’ simple backgrounds.

A lighthearted, beautifully illustrated lesson on appreciating multiplicity through a Hindu lens.

Pub Date: July 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-9977181-3-3

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Monkeymantra

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2021

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A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996

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From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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