While some poetic license has been taken with wording ("auto" is more widely used in India to refer to the titular vehicle than "tuk tuk"), Sehgal and Sehgal deliver a catchy, if at times stereotype-embracing, Indian version of the beloved classic children's song “Wheels on the Bus.”
Based on the whizzing shenanigans of the phenomenon that is the three-wheeled auto-rickshaw, the lively illustrations and rollicking rhymes ("Tuk tuk riders eat / poppa-doppa-doms / poppa-doppa-doms / poppa-doppa-doms") are sure to be crowd pleasers, especially for read-alouds and storytimes. Golden's humorously quirky watercolors warmly portray the whirl of activity on busy Indian city streets as well as the beautiful diversity of the people who populate those streets. From grannies with glasses to ladies with topknots, from a serene yogi pronouncing "Om" from the top of a rickshaw to little girls with golden hoops in their ears, from bemused Western tourists to lively families of many shades, the characters invite readers to absorb and embrace the fun. Some quibbles about authenticity may surface for readers familiar with Indian culture: are saris really just nonpleated, over-one-shoulder dresses? Does a book about India need to be packed with an om-pronouncing yogi and an elephant and a cow and Diwali fireworks, really?
On the whole, the sheer liveliness of spirit behind the book’s playful words and color-drenched illustrations carries the day. (Picture book. 4-8)