An engaging tale that intends to convey the importance of compassion, but dooms its subject to a cruel fate.

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TALAN'S STATUE

In this illustrated children’s book, a young tiger learns about compassion and puts the lesson into action.

Talan is a young Royal Bengal tiger growing up happily in the Sundarbans, among the mangrove trees in South Asia. One day, when out with his mother, he comes upon a statue that adult readers will recognize as a seated Buddha. Talan’s mother explains that the statue “represents a great man who was a friend to the tigers.” Still curious, Talan asks his father, his grandmother and his grandfather—“the wisest of all the tigers”—about the man in the statue. He learns that the man wouldn’t eat any of them for food, because of his great compassion for all animals. Inspired, Talan wishes to follow his example, even when he’s warned that he’ll suffer and die. As Talan sits beneath a mangrove tree in imitation of the statue, other animals, including those he might have once hunted and eaten, come and question him. They bring him their own food, such as berries and grain, but it can’t sustain him. Moved by Talan’s sacrifice in the name of compassion, the other animals gather around him sadly. Eventually an old, dying deer offers himself to Talan, but the tiger still refuses to eat. The two die curled up together, and now a statue in their memory stands in the jungle. Gray (Ferdie’s Grand Day, 2012) tells the story well; its repetitive structure will have appeal for young readers, and the exotic location with its varied animals and birds is also engaging. Salyers’s illustrations are colorful and charming. However, the story is awfully sad and upsetting; would a compassionate Buddha truly wish a beautiful young tiger to suffer and die slowly, rather than follow its own nature as a carnivore? In these days when wild tigers are almost extinct, the idea that it’s noble for one to starve himself to death seems the wrong message.

An engaging tale that intends to convey the importance of compassion, but dooms its subject to a cruel fate.

Pub Date: July 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-0988333437

Page Count: 40

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2014

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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