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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 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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From the Once Upon a World series

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

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 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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While in no way pushing the creative envelope, this light-verse picture book still has much to offer pre-readers looking for...

Thirty poetic firecrackers chronicle a young child’s day.

Combining themes that worked well in the popular Crocodiles Say… (2005) and Crocodiles Play! (2009, both illustrated by Rae Maté), here Heidbreder joins forces with illustrator Smith to capture children at their most active and carefree as they go about their routines from dawn to bedtime. Together, these Canadian creators paint a warm portrait of suburban daily life, with kids enjoying their friends, siblings, pets, sunshine—all the basic pleasures of the moment. Heidbreder’s five-line sonic bursts, such as “Now Back Down,” are generally not contemplative poems but employ tight trochaic dimeter and trimeter to underscore the joy to be had in getting out in the world and exploring: “Bummy-wiggle. / Slip-down…THUD! / Gurpy-slurpy. / Hello, mud! / Plop!” And Smith’s simple, retro illustrations, rendered in pencil and colored digitally, ably depict the action of various scenes, using bold colors and spare facial expressions to show children, pets and yard animals like rabbits and birds at play. Notably absent from these illustrations are adults, whose influence is only subtly felt, as providers of a picnic or dinnertime spread, or heard in reconciling a playground spat or lending behavioral suggestions (especially regarding table manners).

While in no way pushing the creative envelope, this light-verse picture book still has much to offer pre-readers looking for affirmation of what constitutes a full day of fun. (Picture book/poetry. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-55453-706-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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