Sweet and honest.

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WHEN I FOUND GRANDMA

An assimilated child of the Indian diaspora finds herself culturally challenged when her grandmother visits her family in North America.

Maya misses her grandmother and wishes she would visit rather than sending her postcards from many miles away. A few weeks later, Maya has a special surprise waiting for her: Grandma has come to visit! But Maya’s excitement doesn’t last long. Maya prefers cupcakes to her grandmother’s homemade sweets; when her grandmother visits her school, she is embarrassed by Grandma’s sari and her loud voice; most of all, Maya does not like it when her Grandma calls her “Mayalakshmi.” The narrative comes to a head when Maya loses sight of her family during a trip to an amusement park, and she and her grandmother find each other in more ways than one. Balasubramaniam’s honest first-person text and Leng’s soft line-and-color illustrations—which deftly and sympathetically convey the intensity of Maya’s feelings—explore familial love and the intricacies of cross-cultural and intergenerational relationships between very young children and their grandparents. Maya and her family are Indian and celebrate Holi; they live in a vibrant, diverse urban setting. The use of English names (Grandma, Mother, Father) may strike children like Maya as odd, but it is inclusive of a broad range of children with South Asian heritage.

Sweet and honest. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77306-018-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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