LITTLE SID

THE TINY PRINCE WHO BECAME BUDDHA

Skip. (Picture book. 5-10)

Little princeling Sid leaves the palace seeking what he lacks.

Brown-skinned Little Sid’s just a normal kid except that his parents are the king and queen. Every moment they surround him with fun and entertainment, but Sid’s not happy. He wants to spend time with his busy parents. Giving up on them, he sets out one day to find happiness in the world and hears of three wise ones who live on a mountain. Sid first meets a man who tells him his unhappiness will pass. He then meets a woman who makes him think about perception. Finally, while hanging precariously from a cliff’s edge, he meets a mouse who teaches him to value each moment. He walks down the mountain, happy and changed. He gives away his possessions and forces his parents to share a moment with him. Bouma’s illustrations are bright and expressive, but, as an introduction to the life and eventual teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, Lendler’s tale is a facile misrepresentation of the Buddha’s story. Siddhartha’s father was present in his life, and his mother died shortly after his birth. The historical “Sid” was never allowed out of the palace as a child. Buddhist families may recognize Buddhist teachings but might react to it the way Christian families would to a picture book of Jesus pulling loaves and fishes from his swaddling clothes and climbing on a cross while still in the manger. The three-paragraph note about the real Buddha at the close does not mitigate what’s gone before.

Skip. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-636-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

ZARA'S RULES FOR RECORD-BREAKING FUN

From the Zara's Rules series , Vol. 1

A charming contemporary story with a classic feel.

A 10 ¾-year-old girl weathers changes in her social circle—and her sense of self.

Dubbed “Queen of the Neighborhood” by beloved neighbor Mr. Chapman, who has sadly left Maryland for balmy Florida, Zara is apprehensive when a family with two kids moves into his house, potentially upsetting the delicate social balance. Readers familiar with Khan’s Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream books, set a few years after this series opener, will recognize the bustling Pakistani American Muslim household. Assertive, organized Zara and rambunctious 7-year-old Zayd live with their Mama and Baba; the siblings’ grandparents and uncle are integral parts of their daily lives. Zara and Zayd enjoy playing outside with their friends—Black sisters Jade and Gloria, White Alan, and Chinese American Melvin. Mr. Chapman always said that Zara knew how to “rule with grace and fairness,” but new arrivals Naomi and Michael, Jewish kids who are eager to engage socially, put this to the test. When Jamal Mamoo, Mama’s brother, brings over his Guinness World Records book, Zara decides that becoming a world-record holder is the boost her social status needs. Her humorous (and futile) attempts to make her mark ultimately lead her to being a more patient and understanding big sister and more flexible and supportive companion to friends old and new. Strong pacing, fluid prose, engaging hijinks, and heartwarming scenes of family life and outdoor play are complemented by expressive illustrations.

A charming contemporary story with a classic feel. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-9759-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

THE CREATURE OF THE PINES

From the Unicorn Rescue Society series , Vol. 1

Fantasy training wheels for chapter-book readers.

Elliot’s first day of school turns out to be more than he bargained for.

Elliot Eisner—skinny and pale with curly brown hair—is a bit nervous about being the new kid. Thankfully, he hits it off with fellow new student, “punk rock”–looking Uchenna Devereaux, a black girl with twists (though they actually look like dreads in Aly’s illustrations). On a first-day field trip to New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, the pair investigates a noise in the trees. The cause? A Jersey Devil: a blue-furred, red-bellied and -winged mythical creature that looks like “a tiny dragon” with cloven hooves, like a deer’s, on its hind feet. Unwittingly, the duo bonds with the creature by feeding it, and it later follows them back to the bus. Unsurprisingly, they lose the creature (which they alternately nickname Jersey and Bonechewer), which forces them to go to their intimidating, decidedly odd teacher, Peruvian Professor Fauna, for help in recovering it. The book closes with Professor Fauna revealing the truth—he heads a secret organization committed to protecting mythical creatures—and inviting the children to join, a neat setup for what is obviously intended to be a series. The predictable plot is geared to newly independent readers who are not yet ready for the usual heft of contemporary fantasies. A brief history lesson given by a mixed-race associate of Fauna’s in which she compares herself to the American “melting pot” manages to come across as simultaneously corrective and appropriative.

Fantasy training wheels for chapter-book readers. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-3170-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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