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Many kids will wonder why they too can’t bring an elephant home to play.

Did an elephant really follow Maya home from the temple in her Indian village?

When she first meets the baby elephant, the animal sneezes, and the little girl says: “Bless you, Acchu.” The homonym appears several times in the text, adding a little “Who’s on First”–type spin to the general confusion of the grown-ups in the house: “Maya, I thought you were an elephant!” exclaims Appa. “No, that’s Acchu!” she replies. “Bless you,” says he. There is no glossary, but Paati and Thatha (grandma and grandpa) and Amma and Appa (mom and dad) are very easy to decipher. None of the adults ever realize that the elephant is in the yard; they just glimpse little parts of it. Maybe it’s a hose? Maybe it’s the end of Maya’s braid? But they still seem to be in the dark until they notice the big mess of banana skins and coconut shells little Acchu has left on the ground. After all, Amma had told Maya exactly what elephants liked to eat. The light, humorous story is illustrated with attractive, amusing watercolors that portray a mischievous girl at play with her animal friend. There’s nothing overt here about rural Indian life—just a simple way to open readers’ imaginations to another part of the world.

Many kids will wonder why they too can’t bring an elephant home to play. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-81-8190-240-5

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Karadi Tales

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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From the How To Catch… series

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series.

Another creature is on the loose.

The long-running series continues its successful formula with this Hallmark card of a book, which features bright illustrations and catchy rhymes. This time, the mythical creature the racially diverse children set out to catch is an absent mom who does it all (lists of descriptors include the words banker, caregiver, nurse, doctor, driver, chef, housekeeper, teacher, entertainer, playmate, laundry service, problem solver, handywoman, cleaner, and alarm clock) but doesn’t seem to have a job outside the home and is inexplicably a dinosaur. As the children prepare gifts and a meal for her, the text becomes an ode to the skills the Mamasaurus possesses (“Day or night she’s always there. / She meets every wish and need”) and values she instills (“Sometimes life can mean hard work,” “kindness matters,” and “what counts is doing your best”). This well-intentioned selection veers into cliche generously sprinkled with saccharine but manages to redeem itself with its appreciation for mothers and all that they may do. Endpapers include a “to” and “from” page framed in a heart, as well as a page where young gift givers or recipients can draw a picture of their Mamasaurus.

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN: 9781728274300

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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