A treasure that reaches far beyond the traditional board-book audience.



From the Celebrate the World series

This festive board book for toddlers, preschoolers, and early-elementary–age children introduces the practices of and meaning behind Ramadan, the Muslims’ month of fasting.

From the timing of the month around the crescent moon to the physical practice of fasting during daylight hours, this sturdy little book is packed with almost everything young children should know about Ramadan. Many nonfiction books about Ramadan explain the practices, but few give both facts and feelings as this book does, which is appropriate for both Muslims and non-Muslims. Eliot evokes the spirit of Ramadan, “a time to reflect on ourselves, to be thankful, and to help others.” The decorative illustrations show families diverse in skin color, hair texture, and attire as they celebrate, work, play, and pray in societies around the world. The vibrant primary colors pop against blue and orange backgrounds, and the floral patterns and the stylized representation of the natural world strengthen this volume. Only the reasons for fasting are a bit watered down for a general audience: “We fast because we know that there are many people who are less fortunate than us. We appreciate how lucky we are.” This is more a benefit of fasting than the religious reason, but it is easily understood. The book ends with the same bittersweet emotions felt at the end of Ramadan: “We will remember to love our family, pray, and give back to others all throughout the year.”

A treasure that reaches far beyond the traditional board-book audience. (Board book. 2-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0635-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A feast…at least for the eyes, and much better for the teeth.


It’s all about the colors in this board-book version of the virally popular “rainbow explosion” cake.

The cake, which stars in many online videos and slide shows, is actually all about the sprinkles, evoked here with a combination of multihued spinners or sliders and hundreds of tiny holes punched into the sturdy cover and stock. Kassem, a New York City specialist baker, recaps its creation…without specific ingredients but step by step in the simplest language: “Pour it! / Mix it! // Color it!” The images are abstract enough that the result never really looks like food, but young digerati are unlikely to care as they’re directed to choose colors for each of the six layers, pull a tab to watch them rise in the oven, then see all but the top layer hollowed out before being stacked in rainbow order (sans indigo) and finally filled with a column of sprinkles that will pour out in a climactic rush (“Surprise!”) when the finished cake, its outside likewise sprinkle encrusted, is sliced. Chavarri’s simple illustrations flash with oversaturated hues, each succeeding double-page spread being somehow brighter than the last one, until the final uncomplicated pop-up unfolds in a grand shower of confetti and sprinkles. Budding chefs may find the recipe-based approach in Lotta Niemenen’s Cook in a Book series more to their taste, but for sheer energy and dazzle, this is hard to beat.

A feast…at least for the eyes, and much better for the teeth. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3746-6

Page Count: 10

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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In a few pictures, readers will have to search for Buddha…delightfully, it’s Where’s Waldo with a spiritual spin.


Where is the Buddha in this modern world?

“Buddha is up high,” walking through the mountains and gazing at the birds. “Buddha is down below,” in a submarine, with the whales and fishes. “Buddha is watching the soft winter snow,” pausing on a bridge to watch a crane dance. He sits in the sun and shines with the moon and walks with the elephants in the warm showers of the monsoon. He “is everywhere you go.” He is in “the cozy house” and the wide open spaces. He is still and silent, big and small, near and far. Ware’s picture-book representation of the belief that Buddha’s nature is in all of creation is perfect for Buddhist families or others open to the teachings of the Buddhist faith. The jewel-toned, stylized, cartoon illustrations of a tiny smiling Indian Buddha in saffron robes effectively extend the text. In one double-page spread, children of many races hold hands or stand by all types of animals; in another, golden heart-lights shine from the silhouettes of humans and animals in a cityscape. As an added bonus, aside from introducing the concept of interconnectedness, the simple rhyming text presents pairs of opposites: Buddha in a biplane “goes fast,” Buddha “goes slow” along a garden path beneath the stylized blossoms of, perhaps, a Bodhi tree. The diminutive trim size emphasizes its friendly approachability.

In a few pictures, readers will have to search for Buddha…delightfully, it’s Where’s Waldo with a spiritual spin. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61180-587-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bala Kids/Shambhala

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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