A humorous tale woven from strands of Persian culture.

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BAHAR, THE LUCKY

Bahar, a young Persian girl, supports her mother and siblings by selling her rugs at the Grand Bazaar of Kashan.

One day Bahar is bathing at the hammam when she sees the chief fortuneteller’s wife walk in, “proud as a camel.” Imagining herself “wrapped in…riches of a fortune teller,” Bahar decides her weaving days are over and that her fortunetelling will rescue her family from poverty. Soon she is tasked with finding the king’s cat, and the mayor demands she find where the 40 thieves hid the king’s crown. If she doesn’t, she will be punished. Soon Bahar “misse[s] the peace and safety of weaving her rugs,” yet in humorous and improbable ways she is able to solve each task—but not without attracting the king’s attention as well as that of the jealous fortuneteller and his wife. With the help of happenstance and an “old Iranian proverb” she passes the last test and cements her lucky status. Kheiriyeh’s smudgy, stylized depictions of Bahar capture her happiness while weaving and her determination to be a great fortuneteller. Her color palette—reddish-orange, blue, and mustard-yellow—blends well together, adding richness to the setting. The noses of the chief fortuneteller and his wife are caricatured to the point of distraction, but the device does aid in their characterization.

A humorous tale woven from strands of Persian culture. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4788-6907-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Reycraft Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers.

BAGEL IN LOVE

A romance for carb (and pun!) lovers who dance to their own drummers and don’t give up on their dreams.

Bagel is a guy who loves to dance; when he’s tapping and twirling, he doesn’t feel plain. The problem is, he can’t find a partner for the Cherry Jubilee Dance Contest. Poppy says his steps are half-baked. Pretzel, “who was at the spa getting a salt rub…told him his moves didn’t cut the mustard.” He strikes out in Sweet City, too, with Croissant, Doughnut, and Cake. But just when he’s given up, he hears the music from the contest and can’t help moving his feet. And an echoing tap comes back to him. Could it be a partner at last? Yep, and she just happens to smell sweet and have frosting piled high. Bagel and Cupcake crush the contest, but winning the trophy? That “was just icing on the cake,” as the final sentence reads, the two standing proudly with a blue ribbon and trophy, hearts filling the space above and between them. Dardik’s digital illustrations are pastel confections. Sometimes just the characters’ heads are the treats, and other times the whole body is the foodstuff, with tiny arms and legs added on. Even the buildings are like something from “Hansel and Gretel.” However, this pun-filled narrative is just one of many of its ilk, good for a few yuks but without much staying power.

In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2239-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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