Creative teachers, librarians and parents will be able to use this book to start a number of different conversations, but...

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WHAT WE WEAR

DRESSING UP AROUND THE WORLD

By focusing this visually stunning book on “dressing up” rather than on the broader topic of clothing, the authors enjoy the freedom of selecting striking photographs of children dressed in traditional clothing, theatrical costumes and masks and school and sports uniforms.

Engaging, sharp photos, including a Chinese boy dressed as an emperor on the cover, young Nepalese Buddhist monks, a Japanese girl dressed in a beautiful kimono and Israeli Hasidic boys inexplicably wearing red fezzes, appear on boldly colored backgrounds. The lack of contextualizing material begs questions: Are the Israeli boys dressed up for Purim, a Jewish holiday when everyone wears costumes? The Japanese girl is probably dressed for Shichi-go-san, a holiday when 3- and 7-year-old Japanese girls and 5-year-old Japanese boys dress in traditional clothing, but the text (limited to very general short sentences such as: “Around the world, we dress up to have fun! We dance and play…” and “Dressing up means celebrating who we are…”) doesn’t reveal any supporting information. Country names appear on the photos, and there is a world map. The backmatter suggests going to folk festivals and museums, questioning adults about clothing and culture and making simple costumes and masks. 

Creative teachers, librarians and parents will be able to use this book to start a number of different conversations, but descriptions of the clothing and their special meanings (if only for adult users) would greatly increase this book’s value. (Informational photo essay. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-416-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

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Trite text and overworked art detract from an interesting concept.

FULL MOON LORE

Each month of the year is represented by a full moon, one of its nicknames in the Northern Hemisphere, and some notes about seasonal changes during that month.

“Let me tell you a story about the moon. That bright, round moon up there is called a Full Moon….People long ago kept track of the seasons by giving each full moon a special name.” A man with light-brown skin sits with a small, dark-haired, even lighter-skinned girl in his lap, open book before them. Behind them, a stylized version of a moonlit night sets the stage for more pages of full moons. The illustrations use strong, dark lines filled in with high-contrast blocks of color. A cursory glance invites a second look; a second look brings a discomfiting sense of the uncanny, as animals, plants, and humans are generally depicted in that nether world between realism and fantasy. A double-page spread of children gathering berries by moonlight is particularly eerie. The text is also a garbled mix of poetic imagery and snippets of natural science: “Thunder and lightning storms roll through the plains, providing strength for the farmer’s crops to grow.” What does that mean? Most pages keep the full moon gender-free, but it is given a male pronoun during April—as is November’s hardworking beaver. Most problematic of all is that there is no information about the “people long ago” or the culture or cultures from which these various names originated.

Trite text and overworked art detract from an interesting concept. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58536-965-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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Readers who’ve never been to Mumbai will want to visit while those who love it will smile.

THE MOUNTAINS OF MUMBAI

An ode to urbanism and a love letter to India’s largest city.

When Doma, from Ladakh, a special administrative region in the disputed territory of Kashmir, visits her friend Veda in Mumbai, she misses the mountains of her home. “Tell me something,” asks Veda. “Do the mountains have to be exactly like the ones in Ladakh? Big, brown triangles?” Doma is incredulous; how else would a mountain look? Veda takes her friend by the hand and leads her on a tour of the megalopolis featuring views of both rooftops and a city street from above. Veda takes Doma up a seemingly endless spiral staircase and onto a terrace, from which the pair looks out on Marine Drive, a promenade and beach abutting the Arabian Sea. “Yes! Yes! Yes! We are on top of a mountain in Mumbai,” Doma cheers. Jain’s watercolor paintings are vivid and detailed, reveling in the bustle of the city. The unusual trim—double-page spreads measure 7 inches high by 28 inches wide—gives a sense of sweeping panoramas. One particularly effective spread demands a 90-degree turn of the book to fully appreciate the staircase the girls ascend. Veda and Doma’s journey is punctuated with recognizable landmarks (e.g., the Bandra-Worli Sea Link bridge), making this an excellent book for the armchair traveler as well.

Readers who’ve never been to Mumbai will want to visit while those who love it will smile. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-81-936542-9-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Karadi Tales

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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