Readers will dance in their dreams.



A chorus of drums, woodwinds, strings, creoles and indigenous languages will delight the ears at bedtime.

The rich sounds collected by Soussana travel between the West African coast and the Caribbean. From the dark and painful history of slavery and colonization, these lullabies give melody and rhythm to cultural values, traditions, fables, and familial struggles shared by the diaspora. “Lóba” speaks of the wonders of nature and calls on the people to protect it. “Oyiri Marie” tells the story of a hairdresser and a man who turns into a lion. In “Hormiguita Retozona,” an ant has every excuse not to help her mother do chores. The book provides further education on the languages spoken and a map of the countries represented; accompanying each song are the lyrics in both English and the original language, along with beautiful illustrations by Gueyfier. African and Afro-Caribbean children adorned in bright prints and patterns dance, play, sleep, and sing across the pages. Other songs have images of indigenous flora and fauna, city skylines, the sea, and the forest. The vibrant colors mirror the diversity of each country and ethnic group, and the tunes are catchy and easy to hum.

Readers will dance in their dreams. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-2-924744-53-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: The Secret Mountain

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Adults wishing to expand the worldviews of their young charges beyond Eurocentric interpretations will find plenty of visual...


From the Once Upon a World series

A retelling of the classic fairy tale with India as its setting.

This latest addition to the Once Upon A World series tells the well-known story of the maiden with beautiful long tresses locked away in a tower by an evil witch and the prince who falls in love with her. As with Perkins’ Cinderella (illustrated by Sandra Equihua, 2016) and Snow White (illustrated by Misa Saburi, 2016), the text has been simplified for a younger audience, and the distinguishing twist here is its setting in India. The mixed-media illustrations of plants, animals, village life, and, of course, Rapunzel, the witch, and the prince come alive in warm, saturated colors. Other than the visuals, there is little to differentiate the story from traditional tellings. As always, it is still the prince who will eventually lead Rapunzel to her salvation by taking her to his kingdom far away from the witch, but that is the nature of fairy tales. The only quibble with this book and indeed with this series is the board-book format. Given the fact that the audience most likely to enjoy it is beyond the board-book age, a full-size book would have done more justice to the vibrant artwork.

Adults wishing to expand the worldviews of their young charges beyond Eurocentric interpretations will find plenty of visual delights in this one, though they’ll wish it were bigger. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9072-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Lots of detail and complex vocabulary mean most young children won’t linger past check-in at this hotel; older children will...


Bearing the tagline “A lift-the-flap book of discovery,” this board book for older children is meant to inspire garden explorations.

Its inviting house-shaped design with multiple peep-hole windows hints at what children will find inside. The first page explains that “A bug hotel is a multistory homemade habitat where creepy crawlies of all shapes and sizes can find a place to stay!” The benefits of providing accommodations for six different garden critters are then detailed, one per double-page spread. Information about each creature’s ideal environment and how humans can foster that habitat is behind the largest flap on each spread, which also includes a cutout through which the insect can be seen. “Snails come out mainly at night, so a dark and protected habitat helps to keep them cool, happy and safe from predators….” Smaller flaps discuss characteristics of each critter—pollination for bees, metamorphosis for butterflies, etc. The final spread reviews the various materials needed to attract different bugs to the garden. However, there are no instructions included or even websites to consult to assist readers in actually constructing a bug hotel. Birdhouse, published simultaneously using the same format, is somewhat more successful, possibly because birdhouses are more common.

Lots of detail and complex vocabulary mean most young children won’t linger past check-in at this hotel; older children will still need help from a caregiver or teacher . (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61067-766-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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