A culturally authentic journey through a modern Indian market lovingly told through the eyes of a child.

A GIFT FOR AMMA

MARKET DAY IN INDIA

It’s market day, and a young Indian girl is looking for a gift for her mother.

But with so many colorful goods on display, how can she possibly decide what to get? As she wanders through the narrow lanes, the dark-skinned narrator inhales the scents of jasmine, kebabs, mint, and coriander, listens to the beating of large black drums, ducks out of the way of rickshaws and goats, and sneezes in a windblown cloud of spicy red chili powder. In the end, the pigtailed protagonist stops at a bangle stall, deciding that, since she cannot possibly choose just one color, she’ll have to choose them all. Based on the author’s childhood experiences of markets in Chennai, the book’s poetic prose actively engages all five senses. With a few well-chosen details, Sriram avoids making the story overtly Hindu: For example, the narrator takes care to explain that Amma doesn’t wear vermillion powder on her forehead, something typical of modern Indian families that is often overlooked in Western picture books. The illustrations are colorful and vibrant but at times lack key details. Script on signs in the background—which should be Tamil—is instead a set of scribbles, an artistic choice that misses an opportunity to fully realize the setting.

A culturally authentic journey through a modern Indian market lovingly told through the eyes of a child. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64686-061-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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