Winner of the 2017 Jarul Book Children’s Choice Award in India, this kind and playful book may help young readers like Avi...


Avi fears the monster that scares him at night, so his older sister, Swati, suggests solutions to help him deal with that fear in this Indian import.

He tries drawing the monster on a piece of paper and locking it in a box, but that doesn’t work. Swati then recommends writing a letter to the monster, and lo and behold, the monster writes back, its letter tucked under Avi’s pillow by morning and signed “Not a Night Monster.” So begins a correspondence between Avi and the Night Monster. Avi writes to the Night Monster that it scares him with shadows, hooting noises, moving curtains. The Night Monster explains that it doesn’t want to scare Avi, going on to tell him about shadows that play with each other, the owl that hoots, and the wind that “likes to make the curtains dance.” Two letters are in a lift-the-flap form, while the rest of them are in standard format. Striking mixed-media illustrations in a dark blue palette provide a strong sense of Avi’s fear. They create an ambiance that works well with the spare text, just scary enough for older preschoolers and early elementary–age kids. The illustrations show both siblings with dark hair and pale skin. The rather abrupt ending reveals that Swati has secretly written the Night Monster’s letters to help Avi combat his fear of the dark.

Winner of the 2017 Jarul Book Children’s Choice Award in India, this kind and playful book may help young readers like Avi to understand and overcome this nearly universal childhood fear. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-81-8190-331-0

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Karadi Tales

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.


Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.


Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet