THE RUNAWAY DOSA

An unconventional twist on a well-known tale.

Two siblings’ attempt to catch their escapee breakfast leads to a magical journey.

As a hungry little girl reaches for the last dosa, a thin rice and lentil crepe, it suddenly transforms into a cheeky runaway trying to escape its fate. As she and her brother follow the dosa, they find themselves transported to an enchanted wonderland full of magical creatures from Hindu mythology. The vulture Jatayu, colorful lizard Nrga, and monkey Riksha, among others, call out to the children and help them in their search. However, the siblings are unable to catch the tricky dosa, which then meets its inevitable end. When the children return home hungry, their mother reassures them that more dosas are on the way. Inspired by “The Gingerbread Man” and the popular Tamil rhyme “Dosai! Amma, Dosai,” the story is a whimsical magical trip. The illustrations rely on intricate patterns with traditional Indian touches in the clothing, utensils, and family’s warm shades of brown. However, the transition as the children enter the magical world feels abrupt, and the rhymes sound clunky. Though this story lacks the repetition and momentum of “The Gingerbread Man,” for many readers, it will open the door to a world of fantastical beasts. The book includes the original rhyme in Tamil and English as well as a Tamil glossary. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An unconventional twist on a well-known tale. (author’s note, origin stories of the creatures mentioned, a note about dosas, dosa recipe) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781499813975

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023

PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

ABDUL'S STORY

A real treasure of a book for any child who has struggled to learn a skill.

A young Black boy struggles with writing—until a special guest visits his class.

Abdul loves to tell stories about the people in his neighborhood, and his friends at school love hearing them. But whenever he tries to write down his stories in a notebook, spelling rules confuse him, and his “scribbly, scratchy, scrawly letters” never stay on the lines. Abdul decides that his stories are not for books. One day, a visitor comes to Abdul’s class; Mr. Muhammad—a Black man with a flattop haircut like Abdul’s and whose sneakers, like Abdul’s, have “not a single crease or scuff”—is a writer who urges the students to “write new stories with new superheroes.” Abdul feels motivated to give writing another shot, but again he ends up with endless erasure marks and smudges. Mr. Muhammad shows Abdul his own messy notebook, and Abdul, who is left-handed, decides to try writing without erasing. He makes a mess but searches through the clutter for sentences he loves. He rewrites and rewrites and works on his mistakes until he forms a story he likes, proudly claiming the title of writer. Bright, full-color, textured digital illustrations depict a racially diverse, joyful community. This story offers an honest portrayal of learning differences and demonstrates the importance of role models who reflect kids’ own backgrounds. It is a lovely addition to the shelf of meaningful children’s books portraying Black Muslim Americans in everyday situations. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A real treasure of a book for any child who has struggled to learn a skill. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6298-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

Close Quickview