An attractive and important read, particularly in light of current events in India.

A PAIR OF TWINS

This Indian import touts both cultural heritage and women’s rights.

Born just a few minutes apart, a 3 1/2-kilo girl named Sundari and a 500-kilo elephant calf named Lakshmi are raised as “twins.” Their fathers hold important positions in the king’s service: Sundari’s father is the chief mahout, or elephant trainer, and Lakshmi’s father, Drona, is the majestic bull that leads the Dussehra procession in Mysore. Sundari dreams of becoming a mahout like her father, but as a female, she is expected to become a palace dancer. In this folk tale–like story characterized by sophisticated vocabulary and beautifully patterned artwork, the Indian girl secretly practices being a mahout with her beloved elephant. When Drona becomes too ill to carry the howdah on his back and lead the procession and his sons are considered “disappointingly ordinary,” Sundari dares to recommend Lakshmi to take the old elephant’s place. And when a respected elder notes that Lakshmi hasn’t been trained to carry the howdah, he faces wrath from both Lakshmi’s father and the Raja when he suggests Sundari for the job. A creative queen intervenes, devising a plan to turn Sundari into the first female mahout. While some Indian terms can be gleaned from textual clues, adult intervention may be needed for Western readers.

An attractive and important read, particularly in light of current events in India. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-8-181-90302-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Karadi Tales

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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