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by Rajani LaRocca ; illustrated by Neha Rawat

Pub Date: Sept. 5th, 2023
ISBN: 9781536219401
Publisher: Candlewick

A young South Asian boy learns the joy of taking his time.

Aarav loves his grandfather, whom he calls Thatha, even though the two approach life at two different tempos: While Thatha “shuffled,” “sauntered,” and “strolled,” Aarav “ran,” “rushed,” and “raced.” Thatha urges Aarav to slow down, but Aarav constantly asks Thatha to speed up—especially at 5 o’clock, when Aarav helps Thatha makes his daily masala chai. Thatha insists that this spicy tea needs to be made at the right pace, no matter how much Aarav wishes it could be ready right away. One day, Thatha falls off a kitchen stool and injures his leg, preventing him from standing. Without Thatha to make the chai, Aarav decides to step in (with the help of an adult or two). At first, he rushes the process, doing it at the speed he’s always wanted to try. Unfortunately, every attempt goes wrong, and it’s only when Aarav tries his grandfather’s ponderous pace that the chai finally tastes just right—and that Aarav appreciates that while it’s fun to be fast, some things are meant to be slow. Although this intergenerational story centers on a South Asian practice—afternoon chai—its sweetly conveyed message of mindfulness will resonate with impatient little ones everywhere. The muted, earth-toned illustrations, depicting an adorably exuberant tot and a loving family, complement the text effectively. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A much-needed reminder to slow down and live in the moment.

(Picture book. 3-7)