MY MOTHER’S SARI

In this simple story, minimal text explains what a sari looks like and describes some of the uses to which a child might put it. As children dance, hide, climb, wipe their noses and sleep in their mothers’ long and brightly colored saris, it becomes clear that saris—and by extension, their children’s mothers—play an important part in the children’s lives. Originally published in India, the story does not explain that saris are worn as clothing, although the endpapers do include visual and written instructions on how to tie a sari in the traditional manner. Overall, the text feels a bit vague and random, and it is unclear whether a sari is a multi-purpose object or whether the children are simply playing with saris in different ways. The accompanying collages, which combine photographs of saris with drawings and paintings of Indian children, are generally appealing but sometimes awkward. Nonetheless, readers whose mothers wear saris will find something familiar here and identify with the youngsters pictured, while others may find their interest piqued. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-7358-2101-1

Page Count: 28

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2006

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A sweet debut that offers a tongue-in-cheek instruction manual for new big sisters.

IT'S BIG SISTER TIME!

From the My Time series

In social worker Ahuja’s picture book, a well-worn topic—the arrival of a new sibling—gets a multicultural twist.

As the book opens, its young dark-skinned protagonist resists the new baby. “Baby’s loud. Baby’s messy. Sometimes Baby really smells,” she narrates. She then decides that “baby doesn’t know the house rules yet” and proceeds to induct the new baby into the ways of the family. In these spreads, Echeverri’s playful illustrations subtly reinforce this interracial family as Black and South Asian: Mom wears a dupatta during family movie night, and Grandma and Grandpa make rice pudding with their granddaughter; like the protagonist, Dad is illustrated as dark brown, but his black hair is tightly curled while hers is straight; the new baby is painted light brown like Mom but has Dad’s hair texture. As is common in this genre of books, the protagonist grows to accept and love her new sibling, her rules moving from restrictive to playful and inclusive. “The last and most important rule is, no matter what, we stick together,” she explains. “Because… / we’re a team now.” This good-hearted title is one of two concurrent releases from Ahuja; It’s Big Brother Time! is the second, which is nearly identical but depicts the family as Black and East Asian. (This book was reviewed digitally with 6.5-by-13-inch double-page spreads viewed at 33.1% of actual size.)

A sweet debut that offers a tongue-in-cheek instruction manual for new big sisters. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-288438-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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