A welcome modern tale of immigration featuring a Thai protagonist.

A Thai boy finds comfort in a Buddhist tale while adjusting to life in Chicago.

Young “Krit love[s] his home” in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He and his dog, Mu, run alongside temple stairs and duck “under dragon fruit carts in the market, past papaya and longans and red rambutans.” While celebrating the festival of lights, Krit releases his banana-leaf boat lighted with a candle on the river with his single wish: “Let nothing change.” Unfortunately, that night, his mother informs him the family is moving to Chicago to help with family business. The digitally painted grayscale city shrouded in snow proves a jarring change from the bright sunbathed colors of Thailand. Krit attempts to re-create familiar scenes, walking alongside the icy river and visiting markets only to be scolded by guards and staff for bringing his dog. Cold and dispirited, that night Krit requests a story from his mother, who tells a cryptic tale of Buddha's finding a place to build his temple. Straightforward narration reveals the next day is a more fruitful one when Krit meets Dahlia, a white girl playing with a toy boat in the river. With Dahlia’s friendship, Krit looks at Chicago with new eyes, realizing the moral of his mother’s story and the true meaning of home. Woo builds on simple shapes and rounded edges to provide bright characters with charming backdrops.

A welcome modern tale of immigration featuring a Thai protagonist. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61180-775-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bala Kids/Shambhala

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019


The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017


From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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