An originally designed, gorgeously illustrated new vision of an old tale.

UNDER THE GREAT PLUM TREE

A kindhearted monkey and an elderly crocodile forge an unlikely bond.

Miss Bandari is a monkey who’s known for her bighearted kindness. One day, while sitting in a plum tree, she meets Mr. Magarmach, an elderly crocodile whose aging body makes it impossible for him to hunt. Hearing him groan with hunger, Miss Bandari throws Mr. Magarmach a sweet plum. Thus begins a friendship between the aged reptile and the sweet simian, who enjoys hearing her new friend’s tales of adventure and bravery. One day, hoping to repay Miss Bandari’s generosity, Mr. Magarmach invites her to lunch. Luckily, on the way, they run into Dame Hati the elephant, who warns Miss Bandari that King Crocodile lives in Mr. Magarmach’s swamp and surely wants to have Miss Bandari for his own lunch! Thanks to Dame Hati’s intervention, Miss Bandari invents a quick lie that saves her life but breaks her heart: After this betrayal, she doesn’t know if she’ll ever trust Mr. Magarmach again. In this innovative reimagining of a classic narrative from the Indian folktale collection known as the Panchatantra, Ahmed and Dalvand develop a cast of quirky, fascinating characters using simple language, innovative text placement, and lavish, intricately detailed illustrations. The exact plot uses the original folktale as a jumping-off point rather than a template, and the twists and turns, both visual and literary, will keep readers old and young engaged.

An originally designed, gorgeously illustrated new vision of an old tale. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-910328-46-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiny Owl

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A winning tale about finding new friends.

FOUND

Bear finds a wonderful toy.

Bear clearly loves the toy bunny that he has found sitting up against a tree in the forest, but he wants to help it return to its home. With a wagon full of fliers and the bunny secure in Bear’s backpack, he festoons the trees with posters and checks out a bulletin board filled with lost and found objects (some of which will bring a chuckle to adult readers). Alas, he returns home still worried about bunny. The following day, they happily play together and ride Bear’s tricycle. Into the cozy little picture steps Moose, who immediately recognizes his bunny, named Floppy. Bear has a tear in his eye as he watches Moose and Floppy hug. But Moose, wearing a tie, is clearly grown and knows that it is time to share and that Bear will take very good care of his Floppy. Yoon’s story is sweet without being sentimental. She uses digitized artwork in saturated colors to create a lovely little world for her animals. They are outlined in strong black lines and stand out against the yellows, blues, greens and oranges of the background. She also uses space to great effect, allowing readers to feel the emotional tug of the story.

A winning tale about finding new friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3559-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere.

THE QUEEN OF KINDERGARTEN

Barnes and Brantley-Newton team up for a follow-up to The King of Kindergarten (2019).

From the very first page, it’s clear that young MJ Malone is ready to face the world—and school. Once Mom bestows her with a glittery tiara and dubs her the queen of kindergarten, MJ is determined to fulfill her duties—brighten up every room she enters, treat others with kindness, and offer a helping hand. Barnes infuses each page with humor and a sense of grace as the immensely likable MJ makes the most of her first day. Barnes’ prose is entertaining and heartwarming, while Brantley-Newton’s vivid and playful artwork will be easily recognizable for anyone who’s seen her work (Grandma’s Purse, 2018; Becoming Vanessa, 2021). The illustrator adds verve to the bold young heroine’s character—from the colorful barrettes to the textured appearance of her adorable denim jumper, the girl has style and substance. MJ Malone embodies the can-do spirit every parent hopes to spark in their own children, though even shy kindergarteners will gladly find a friend in her. MJ and her family are Black; her classroom is diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-11142-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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