On the whole, the sheer liveliness of spirit behind the book’s playful words and color-drenched illustrations carries the day

THE WHEELS ON THE TUK TUK

While some poetic license has been taken with wording ("auto" is more widely used in India to refer to the titular vehicle than "tuk tuk"), Sehgal and Sehgal deliver a catchy, if at times stereotype-embracing, Indian version of the beloved classic children's song “Wheels on the Bus.”

Based on the whizzing shenanigans of the phenomenon that is the three-wheeled auto-rickshaw, the lively illustrations and rollicking rhymes ("Tuk tuk riders eat / poppa-doppa-doms / poppa-doppa-doms / poppa-doppa-doms") are sure to be crowd pleasers, especially for read-alouds and storytimes. Golden's humorously quirky watercolors warmly portray the whirl of activity on busy Indian city streets as well as the beautiful diversity of the people who populate those streets. From grannies with glasses to ladies with topknots, from a serene yogi pronouncing "Om" from the top of a rickshaw to little girls with golden hoops in their ears, from bemused Western tourists to lively families of many shades, the characters invite readers to absorb and embrace the fun. Some quibbles about authenticity may surface for readers familiar with Indian culture: are saris really just nonpleated, over-one-shoulder dresses? Does a book about India need to be packed with an om-pronouncing yogi and an elephant and a cow and Diwali fireworks, really?

On the whole, the sheer liveliness of spirit behind the book’s playful words and color-drenched illustrations carries the day . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4831-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2015

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Not astonishingly go-out-and-buy-it-at-graduation inspirational, but all it takes is one seed of change to be planted.

GOING PLACES

Imagination soars—quite literally—when a little girl follows her own set of rules.

Every year Oak Hill School has a go-kart race called the Going Places contest. Students are given identical go-kart kits with a precise set of instructions. And of course, every single kart ends up exactly the same. Every one, that is, except Maya’s. Maya is a dreamy artist, and she would rather sketch birds in her backyard than get caught up in the competition. When she finally does start working, she uses the parts in the go-kart box but creates something completely different. No one ever said it had to be a go-kart. Maya’s creative thinking inspires Rafael, her neighbor (and the most enthusiastic Going Places contestant), to ask to team up. The instructions never say they couldn’t work together, either! An ode to creativity and individuality to be sure, but the Reynolds brothers are also taking a swipe at modern education: Endless repetition and following instructions without question create a culture of conformity. Hopefully now, readers will see infinite possibility every time the system hands them an identical go-kart box.

Not astonishingly go-out-and-buy-it-at-graduation inspirational, but all it takes is one seed of change to be planted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6608-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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Slight and contrived.

LITTLE TACO TRUCK

A little orange food truck parks in the same place every day, bringing tacos to hungry construction workers—till one morning, a falafel truck takes his spot.

Miss Falafel then brings by more of her friends, crowding out the taco truck. Little Taco Truck whines and cries, but after four days of being shut out by the bigger trucks, he finally takes the initiative. He spends the night in his former parking space, defending his territory when the other trucks arrive. The rest immediately apologize, and after some creative maneuvering, everyone fits—even the newly arrived noodle truck. Valentine’s naïve call for cooperation glosses over the very real problem of urban gentrification represented by the flood of bigger and better-equipped trucks taking over the neighborhood. When the taco truck is the only game in town, the food line consists of hard-hatted construction workers. Then, as falafel, arepa, gelato, hot dog, and gumbo trucks set up shop, professionals and hipsters start showing up. (All the customers are depicted as animals.) The author also inadvertently equates tacos with a lack of sophistication. “ ‘Hola, Miss Fal…Fal…’ Little Taco Truck tried to sound out the words on the side of the other truck.” Sadly, the truck sells Americanized crisp-shelled tacos. Even the glossary ignores the culinary versatility and cultural authenticity of the soft taco with this oversimplified and inaccurate definition: “A crispy Mexican corn pancake folded or rolled around a filling of meat, beans, and cheese.”

Slight and contrived. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6585-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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