Read this before bedtime to ensure a world of sweet dreams.

MY BED

ENCHANTING WAYS TO FALL ASLEEP AROUND THE WORLD

Children around the globe go to sleep in different kinds of beds in this ingeniously illustrated picture book.

Fashioned from fabric, beads, wire, and yarn and using embroidery stitches as adornment, the compositions have some depth and use deep colors. All readers will want to return to pore over the details of these imaginative depictions. Each scene features one or two children in their sleeping places: hammocks in Brazil, a courtyard in Iran, a rooftop in Morocco, alcove beds “nestled into walls” in Norway, or mattresses “outside in the fresh air” in Ghana. As befits its international theme, the children and the occasional adult in the pictures are diverse. Each double-page spread includes a fabric-relief picture that fills two-thirds of the spread, and on the left, one half of a rhyming couplet that gives an overview followed by a short description of the scene and its country. An appropriate fabric animal appears: an elephant for India, a rooster for Russia, a koi for Japan. The animals appear on the endpapers, creating a guessing game, and they also show up in the last scene, of a child snoozing in a presumably North American home. Only a map is missing for a complete learning experience. A concluding note about the creation of the illustrations will be fascinating to adults and may prompt them to work with children to make some fabric collages.

Read this before bedtime to ensure a world of sweet dreams. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-94906-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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Readers who’ve never been to Mumbai will want to visit while those who love it will smile.

THE MOUNTAINS OF MUMBAI

An ode to urbanism and a love letter to India’s largest city.

When Doma, from Ladakh, a special administrative region in the disputed territory of Kashmir, visits her friend Veda in Mumbai, she misses the mountains of her home. “Tell me something,” asks Veda. “Do the mountains have to be exactly like the ones in Ladakh? Big, brown triangles?” Doma is incredulous; how else would a mountain look? Veda takes her friend by the hand and leads her on a tour of the megalopolis featuring views of both rooftops and a city street from above. Veda takes Doma up a seemingly endless spiral staircase and onto a terrace, from which the pair looks out on Marine Drive, a promenade and beach abutting the Arabian Sea. “Yes! Yes! Yes! We are on top of a mountain in Mumbai,” Doma cheers. Jain’s watercolor paintings are vivid and detailed, reveling in the bustle of the city. The unusual trim—double-page spreads measure 7 inches high by 28 inches wide—gives a sense of sweeping panoramas. One particularly effective spread demands a 90-degree turn of the book to fully appreciate the staircase the girls ascend. Veda and Doma’s journey is punctuated with recognizable landmarks (e.g., the Bandra-Worli Sea Link bridge), making this an excellent book for the armchair traveler as well.

Readers who’ve never been to Mumbai will want to visit while those who love it will smile. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-81-936542-9-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Karadi Tales

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A superficial take on culture and diversity when the conversation has moved beyond such surface explorations.

LITTLE DUMPLINGS

When Little Dumpling accidentally rolls away from her salty broth at a dumpling festival, she discovers that nearly every cuisine features some kind of dumpling.

Her adventures lead her to encounters with Ghanaian fufu—she samples the thick West African stew and finds it tasty—Chinese shumai, Italian ravioli, Japanese gyoza, and more, observing all the differences among them. “Patted, pinched, filled, folded, poached, pan-fried, steamed, sauced!” the narration exclaims. Little Dumpling realizes she “had no idea there were so many ways to be a dumpling!” When Little Dumpling is reunited with her sibling dumplings (who are revealed to be knaidels, from Central and Eastern Europe), she is happy to be home but also curious whether there are “even more new friends to meet.” On the book’s final spread, Little Dumpling is seen on the back of a fusion food truck, waving to her siblings. The book aims to be a diversity primer but leans on tired food metaphors to do so. Occasionally, Brooke also uses othering language, such as describing a Mexican chochoyote as a “creature.” Pang’s illustrations are whimsical and the highlight of this otherwise unremarkable book; her dumpling characters are expressive and distinctive, with attention to culinary details. The cheery endpapers provide a guide to the dumplings introduced, naming each of them and supplying their country of origin.

A superficial take on culture and diversity when the conversation has moved beyond such surface explorations. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5037-5710-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sunbird Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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