The third offering in the Curious Sameer series from India invites readers to consider all the fun to be had during school vacations.
Sameer delights in giving Amma clues about the “special place” where he plans to spend his school vacation. From page to page, he constructs a childhood idyll, and his mother guesses various places that might embody the joys he describes. Finally, Amma repeats all of the wonderful things he mentions and asks him to tell her where this special place is. He reveals it to be “Grandma and Grandpa’s house, of course!” This lovely resolution is somewhat undermined by how out of place the English monikers feel in a story partially defined by its cultural specificity and seamless use of the term Amma and the name Sameer. Another, arguably more egregious, misstep occurs when Sameer describes a place where he can bring “puzzles, paint box, and drawing book.” Amma guesses that he is describing a summer camp, and the accompanying art shows children making art outside amid what seem like generic Plains Indian teepees. How these structures relate to a vision of summer camp is unclear—except perhaps through an unfortunate, tired reiteration of a stereotype of American Indians.
This otherwise successful series stumbles a bit in this outing. (Picture book. 3-6)