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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There’s always tomorrow.

TOMORROW IS WAITING

A lyrical message of perseverance and optimism.

The text uses direct address, which the title- and final-page illustrations suggest comes from an adult voice, to offer inspiration and encouragement. The opening spreads reads, “Tonight as you sleep, a new day stirs. / Each kiss good night is a wish for tomorrow,” as the accompanying art depicts a child with black hair and light skin asleep in a bed that’s fantastically situated in a stylized landscape of buildings, overpasses, and roadways. The effect is dreamlike, in contrast with the next illustration, of a child of color walking through a field and blowing dandelion fluff at sunrise. Until the last spread, each child depicted in a range of settings is solitary. Some visual metaphors falter in terms of credibility, as in the case of a white-appearing child using a wheelchair in an Antarctic ice cave strewn with obstacles, as the text reads “you’ll explore the world, only feeling lost in your imagination.” Others are oblique in attempted connections between text and art. How does a picture of a pale-skinned, black-haired child on a bridge in the rain evoke “first moments that will dance with you”? But the image of a child with pink skin and brown hair scaling a wall as text reads “there will be injustice that will challenge you, and it will surprise you how brave you can be” is clearer.

There’s always tomorrow. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-101-99437-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared.

IMAGINE

Former Poet Laureate Herrera encourages his young readers to imagine all they might be in his new picture book.

Herrera’s free verse tells his own story, starting as a young boy who loves the plants and animals he finds outdoors in the California fields and is then thrust into the barren, concrete city. In the city he begins to learn to read and write, learning English and discovering a love for words and the way ink flows “like tiny rivers” across the page as he applies pen to paper. Words soon become sentences, poems, lyrics, and a means of escape. This love of the word ultimately leads him to make writing his vocation and to become the first Chicano Poet Laureate of the United States, an honor Herrera received in 2015. Through this story of hardship to success, expressed in a series of conditional statements that all begin “If I,” Herrera implores his readers to “imagine what you could do.” Castillo’s ink and foam monoprint illustrations are a tender accompaniment to Herrera’s verse, the black lines of her illustrations flowing across the page in rhythm with the author’s poetry. Together this makes for a charming read-aloud for groups or a child snuggled in a lap.

A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared. (Picture book/memoir. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9052-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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