On the whole, the sheer liveliness of spirit behind the book’s playful words and color-drenched illustrations carries the day

READ REVIEW

THE WHEELS ON THE TUK TUK

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)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4831-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2015

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A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off.

TINY LITTLE ROCKET

This rocket hopes to take its readers on a birthday blast—but there may or may not be enough fuel.

Once a year, a one-seat rocket shoots out from Earth. Why? To reveal a special congratulatory banner for a once-a-year event. The second-person narration puts readers in the pilot’s seat and, through a (mostly) ballad-stanza rhyme scheme (abcb), sends them on a journey toward the sun, past meteors, and into the Kuiper belt. The final pages include additional information on how birthdays are measured against the Earth’s rotations around the sun. Collingridge aims for the stars with this title, and he mostly succeeds. The rhyme scheme flows smoothly, which will make listeners happy, but the illustrations (possibly a combination of paint with digital enhancements) may leave the viewers feeling a little cold. The pilot is seen only with a 1960s-style fishbowl helmet that completely obscures the face, gender, and race by reflecting the interior of the rocket ship. This may allow readers/listeners to picture themselves in the role, but it also may divest them of any emotional connection to the story. The last pages—the backside of a triple-gatefold spread—label the planets and include Pluto. While Pluto is correctly labeled as a dwarf planet, it’s an unusual choice to include it but not the other dwarfs: Ceres, Eris, etc. The illustration also neglects to include the asteroid belt or any of the solar system’s moons.

A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-18949-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: David Fickling/Phoenix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared.

IMAGINE

Former Poet Laureate Herrera encourages his young readers to imagine all they might be in his new picture book.

Herrera’s free verse tells his own story, starting as a young boy who loves the plants and animals he finds outdoors in the California fields and is then thrust into the barren, concrete city. In the city he begins to learn to read and write, learning English and discovering a love for words and the way ink flows “like tiny rivers” across the page as he applies pen to paper. Words soon become sentences, poems, lyrics, and a means of escape. This love of the word ultimately leads him to make writing his vocation and to become the first Chicano Poet Laureate of the United States, an honor Herrera received in 2015. Through this story of hardship to success, expressed in a series of conditional statements that all begin “If I,” Herrera implores his readers to “imagine what you could do.” Castillo’s ink and foam monoprint illustrations are a tender accompaniment to Herrera’s verse, the black lines of her illustrations flowing across the page in rhythm with the author’s poetry. Together this makes for a charming read-aloud for groups or a child snuggled in a lap.

A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared. (Picture book/memoir. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9052-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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