A sweet sojourn in Nepal; though not perfect, it’s nevertheless an important contribution.



Brothers Alu and Bhalu are celebrating Kukur Tihar, a special day to honor dogs during festival time in Nepal.

The two young boys search the streets of Kathmandu for a stray dog to feed, remembering the brave search-and-rescue dogs that saved many lives after earthquakes devastated their country in 2015. Multiaward-winner Engle teams up with her daughter, Nicole Karanjit, and son-in-law, Amish Karanjit (who was born and raised in Nepal), to craft this tale based on a true story from another part of the world. The spare text is interwoven with authentic touches about Nepali family and culture, describing how “families chased away the darkness / by lighting lanterns on doorsteps, / rooftops, / and windowsills” and how the children strive “not to scatter / the rice flour / arranged in dazzling patterns / on the living room floor.” Using a dark palette, Jeyaveeran’s authentic illustrations add another layer of cultural knowledge, showing dark-haired, brown-skinned children and adults wearing traditional Nepali outfits and joyously celebrating the festival. While the resolution to Alu and Bhalu’s search is successful and satisfying, the text may not fully convey to young readers the cultural depth of the brothers’ actions, as they feed their new pet the festival feast meant for the family. The oversimplification of the climax diminishes the impact of this otherwise remarkable story set in another culture.

A sweet sojourn in Nepal; though not perfect, it’s nevertheless an important contribution. (glossary, further reading, activities) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5124-3205-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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


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

Did you like this book?

A sweet series opener, especially for the cat lovers in the chapter-book set.


From the Kitty series , Vol. 1

Kitty uses her feline superpowers in this new series.

Kitty, a young girl, wants to be just like her superhero mother, who goes out at night to help people. Unfortunately, Kitty doesn’t feel brave and is afraid of the darkness outside. With her mother gone one night, Kitty puts on her superhero costume. While she is playing pretend, a frantic cat, Figaro, jumps in through her window, looking for Kitty’s mom. Mistaken for a real superhero, Kitty is drawn into an adventure to uncover the mysterious noise coming from the clock tower. With her magic superpowers heightened by the moon, Kitty faces her biggest fear, makes new cat friends, and discovers her own inner superhero. Harrison writes an amusing story of bravery and self-confidence, encouraging newly independent readers with Mom’s words: “Don’t let fear hold you back. You’re braver than you think.” Løvlie sets an incredible scene with her dramatic black-and-white illustrations on almost every page. Multiple pages are entirely black with white text and drawings, immersing the readers in this nighttime story. Included are character introductions and super facts about cats. Kitty, her mom, and her younger brother all have pale skin and straight, black hair; her dad’s hair is lighter.

A sweet series opener, especially for the cat lovers in the chapter-book set. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-293472-7

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet