Making its point engagingly, this story will help young readers see how small environmental changes can make a difference.


Two young sisters work hard to bring the “magic” of solar energy to their family.

Chandra and her older sister, Deena, are shopping in the marketplace when they see solar tukis, lamps that are both safer and cheaper in the long run than the usual kerosene lamps. They are determined to buy one to make their home healthier for Akash, their baby brother, who has a lingering cough, but their father has no money to spare. Though they already have many chores, the sisters take on the project of earning money by selling rhododendrons, Nepal’s national flower. As Deena tells her sister about Surya, the sun god, and Chandra, the moon god (the little girl is named for him), religion is woven into the story. Created with acrylics, collage elements and colored pencils, the vivid two-page spreads are filled with everyday details, and a few have a magical, Rousseau-like quality. The backmatter includes information on Nepal and topics including markets, health and the technology of solar tukis, useful for teachers and librarians. Instructions for a pizza-box solar oven include a reminder about asking a grown-up to help cut the box with a knife but do not extend that to recommending adult assistance with actual cooking.

Making its point engagingly, this story will help young readers see how small environmental changes can make a difference. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: May 31, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-84686-493-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape.


From the Rafi and Rosi series

The fourth installment in Delacre’s early-reader series centers on the rich musical traditions of Puerto Rico, once again featuring sibling tree frogs Rafi and Rosi Coquí.

Readers learn along with Rafi and Rosi as they explore bomba, plena, and salsa in three chapters. A glossary at the beginning sets readers up well to understand the Spanish vocabulary, including accurate phoneticization for non-Spanish speakers. The stories focus on Rafi and Rosi’s relationship within a musical context. For example, in one chapter Rafi finds out that he attracts a larger audience playing his homemade güiro with Rosi’s help even though he initially excluded her: “Big brothers only.” Even when he makes mistakes, as the older brother, Rafi consoles Rosi when she is embarrassed or angry at him. In each instance, their shared joy for music and dance ultimately shines through any upsets—a valuable reflection of unity. Informational backmatter and author’s sources are extensive. Undoubtedly these will help teachers, librarians, and parents to develop Puerto Rican cultural programs, curriculum, or home activities to extend young readers’ learning. The inclusion of instructions to make one’s own homemade güiro is a thoughtful addition. The Spanish translation, also by Delacre and published simultaneously, will require a more advanced reader than the English one to recognize and comprehend contractions (“pa’bajo-pa-pa’rriba”) and relatively sophisticated vocabulary.

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape. (Early reader. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-89239-429-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Bland pictures and superficial presentation sink this problem-solver. Feeling slighted by new neighbor Jeremy, the aggrieved young narrator accepts his father’s offer to make an “enemy pie.” Dad insists on doing the baking, but tells the lad that the recipe also requires spending a day playing with the enemy—after which, predictably, the two lads sit down as newly minted friends for pie à la mode. Though the narrator speculates about the pie’s ingredients, the promisingly gross worm-and-weed dishes on the cover never materialize in the illustrations inside, nor are any of Jeremy’s supposed offenses depicted. Instead, King shows the boys in a series of conventional, static scenes, throwing water balloons at girls and other fun activities. Meanwhile, Dad’s fixed, knowing smile invites viewers to share the conceit—even though his naïve son never does catch on. And is Jeremy really so hostile? He displays so little individual character that it’s hard to get a read on him; he just seems to be going with the flow. Invite readers to order up a bowl of Betsy Everitt’s Mean Soup (1992) instead, or a slice of Margie Palatini’s Piggie Pie (1995). (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-8118-2778-X

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2000

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