Cue applause for this picture book about a Sikh girl who loves music.


Sangeet loves music, both composing and playing all kinds of instruments, including the tablay, which are traditional Indian drums.

One day, on the school playground, Sangeet notices the amazing sounds that are all around her. She hears the squeak of the swings, the creak of the teeter-totter, and the voices of her fellow students. All of the sounds come together in her mind to form a brand new beat. After school, she races home to try the beat out on her tablay. But when she plays it, she realizes that the beat isn’t quite complete: Something is definitely missing. What could it be? Sangeet practices and practices, even dreaming about the beat, but she still can’t quite figure out what she needs to finish the rhythm. When her beloved grandmother comes to visit, she hopes that she’ll find the answer. Dadiji is a talented musician who has performed all over the world. In the end, Dadiji’s advice—though unexpected—is exactly what Sangeet needs to finish her brand new beat. The book’s joyful storyline is complemented by vibrant, cartoonlike illustrations that have a homespun feel. The prose is uneven at times, but the underlying messages are clearly and cleverly communicated. Although Sangeet’s heritage is never explicitly mentioned, names and visual details (such as Sangeet’s uncut hair and her father’s and grandmother’s turbans) suggest that she and her family are Sikh; they live in a racially diverse North American community.

Cue applause for this picture book about a Sikh girl who loves music. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-989996-05-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rebel Mountain Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.


A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.


Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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