The Lonely Jacaranda by Russell Irving

The Lonely Jacaranda is a wonderfully illustrated book which tells the story of a Jacaranda tree that is planted away from her home. A stranger takes her away from her home and plants her seed in front of his house. He did this hoping that the Jacaranda seed would grow into a big tree providing some shade and colour. He had hoped for a big and purple tree. But the seed grew slowly since being away from home it was lonely and sad. The Jacaranda tried to make friends with other trees and introduces herself but the other trees mock her for shedding all her leaves. Even the birds do not rest upon her branches. A grey Butcherbird comes up with a fantastic plan and asks the birds to eat the fruit of the Jacaranda tree and drop the seeds for more trees to grow. Soon there are more trees and the Jacaranda is not lonely any longer. It has a family of its own. Together the trees are admired and praised for their lovely purple flowers. Word spreads and the city has visitors especially to see the trees.

The Lonely Jacaranda is a marvelous book to read. The story is simple but has deep meaning and several layers for the discerning reader. On one hand it speaks of migrants or people who are settling down at a new place. The Jacaranda tree is reflective of the hardships and obstacles a person encounters while settling and laying roots. It is difficult to make new friends and break down communication barrier, and be accepted as part of the community. On the other hand, it reads like a beautifully illustrated fable which gives the lesson and value of caring for one other. How lending a helping hand can create ripples of support thereby having better and more outreach. It also speaks about how it takes time for a tree to grow outside its native place. Such plants should be dealt with utmost care and nurture.

I recommend this book to everyone, especially to schools to teach the value of caring and looking after one another. The language is simple and easy to read. Adding charms to the text are the watercolor illustrations which give it a dreamy feel.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

The Extraordinary Pause by Sara Sadik

Life as we know completely changed post pandemic. No one was prepared for the outcome of the virus attack. It took the world by surprise like a stealth thief robbing a house in the middle of the night. The world which was running at a high speed , completely slowed down due to the pandemic. Streets became vacant, cafes and shops had a desolate look in the absence of customers.

The Extraordinary Pause by Sara Sadik explores the after effects of the pandemic through the eyes of a child. There is innocence and a child like bewilderment when hugs and kisses became illegal. The world paused in all its actions. There was no rush to reach or go anywhere. Everyone was behind doors due to the pandemic. For an adult this change was like hitting a pause button to the continuous flow of events. From the view of a child this pause was extraordinary. People paid more attention to smaller joys of life like spending time together, family time together, doing things together as a family which usually were given a miss due to the maddening rush of the day. This pause brought people closer and make them notice things they otherwise would miss.

The book highlights the positive effects of the pandemic as seen from the point of view of a child. Instead of a dismal and negative emotion that an adult would show, the book teaches everyone to sometime pause in life. Breathe and slowly look around at the smaller things in life-birds chirping, smiles and the time with family.

A pause at times can create magic only if one let’s the magic unfold. The illustrations add magic to the simple texts. Each illustration speak for itself and makes the theme unfold even if one skips the text. A beautiful book for children and adults alike. Must keep resource for parents, teachers and librarians to discuss the pandemic and help the children in recovering from it.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Extraordinary Women Who Changed The World By Riddleland

Extraordinary Women Who Changed Our World by Riddleland is not your run of the mill book of biographies for children. Riddleland has made a difference in their treatment of biographies. Unlike regular biographies which after a time become monotonous and boring, this collection holds on to your attention from the first person, Catherine the great. The biographies are written in story like format with a moral at the end. These attract the reader and the facts are then easy to remember. Another striking feature is that the biography is not limited to women of any one particular country. They span all over the world giving a bird’s eye view of the lives women lived at various period of time, their struggles and their contribution.

The book is divided into five parts and accordingly there are women personalities. This allows freedom to choose a personality to read according to one’s interest. There are Rulers, Activists, Explorers, Scientists, Poets, Artists, Entertainers, etc. Grouped into section this book makes it an easy read for children across grades. This is definitely a handy book for students while preparing projects, for research or even just to build up knowledge.

The language is simple and not too eloquent to become incomprehensible. The compilers and editors have been mindful of the audience for which the book is written. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and have definitely gathered several pearls of knowledge for myself.

I highly recommend this book to all teachers, parents and librarians to educate them about the contribution of women leaders across fields. A must read!!

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Gugulu: The Little Bear Dares by Srividhya Lakshmanan

‘Gugulu: The Little Bear Dares,’ written by Srividhya Lakshmanan and illustrated by Akansha Krishnan, tells us the story of Gugulu. Gigulu is a sloth bear who thinks he is big enough to go to school alone. But his mom and dad think otherwise. They are concerned about him and want to keep him safe from the perils lurking in the jungle. Instead of listening to his parents Gugulu ventures out on his own. Alone, Gugulu finds himself in the middle of every possible dangers. From a purple frog to a macaque to a leopard to a running herd of gaurs. It does not end there he barely manages to escape the deadly clutches of a black panther and a snake. He later returns to his parents with some help from a friendly elephant. He returns home wiser and comforted in the thought that even when he was was alone among the dangers his parents were trying to rescue him all along. Be it the gaurs or the rushing waves his parents are always in sight. The thrill and excitement of being alones wanes and he finds the presence of his parents reassuring.

This holds true for most of the children. Since the time they learn to do things independently they seek freedom from parental control. Not realizing that it is for their own good. It is only later through some lessons and experiences that they come to accept that the presence of parents is more comforting than anything else. Learning to be independent is essential but with it also comes the responsibility to use it judiciously. Young children fail to apply their independence or freedom appropriately. This is where the role of parents as guides is of utmost importance. Through this lovely picture book, author Srividhya has done a fabulous job in rendering this lesson without sounding preachy. In a fun and amusing manner through perils of the jungle she explains how parents are needed to learn to survive and to learn independence and its application.

The story is narrated in rhyming scheme which makes reading all the more fun. The illustrations are alluring and beautiful. They seem to draw you into jungle fever. The author has gone an extra mile and provided brief explanation about each animal that features in the book. This added benefit makes reading all the more appealing. The pictures of all of the animals in the back of the book with brief explanations about them make the story even more appealing. Children will definitely find themselves resonate with Gugulu’s and his desire for freedom from parental control. This book is highly recommended for primary school teachers, librarians and parents. As the book not just imparts an valuable life lesson but also gives information about several animals. A fun and informative read.

I thank the author for providing me with an ARC for an honest book review. This review is my personal view and unbiased towards author.

Monster Problem by Jason Lady

Monster Problems (A Magic Pen Adventure Book 1) eBook : Lady, Jason R.:  Amazon.in: Kindle Store

It feels good when an author approaches you to review their book. When Jason Lady shared his book for review I was not prepared to be clean bowled. This book had me hooked on from the first chapter. The book begins to draw on you since the characters are relatable and the incidents in the book are something that happen in daily lives.

Monster Problem is a cleverly written book which delivers some very important life lessons without sounding preachy. The story begins with sixth grader, Brad telling us his story or rather his tragic story. But his story is far from tragic. Jason has weaved a humorous story with life like characters.  

Brad loves to draw but he lacks focus in his studies. This causes his parents to admonish him and ask him to stop drawing. making matters worse is his little brother, Daley.  Things take an unexpected turn when one day Brad is grounded for drawing in class when he should have been studying. Daley, his younger brother makes matters worse by rubbing it in and blackmailing when the opportunity strikes. The description Jason gives for Daley through Brad is really amusing yet true to the hilt. Brad expresses in these words, “Daley could appear totally calm and innocent and really be cooking up an evil plan inside that giant brain of his.” Musing over his bad luck and Daley’s blackmail, Brad does not notice a crow come to his window. He is taken by surprise when the crow drops a magical pen before him and flies off. Since his drawing equipments were taken away by his parents Brad makes use of the pen to draw. Little did he know that his drawing would come to life. Brad draws a slimy green monster specially designed to assault his trouble making brother, Daley. The following pages covers the various hilarious incidents involving the monster, Daley, and Brad and his friends trying to stop the monster. Can you imagine the scene?? A monster on the loose to attack Daley for his evil plans. Brad trying to protect him with his friends.

Besides the main characters there are some other characters that really catch your eye, like Mr. Octagon the art teacher. Even though his name is mathematical he has some great art ideas. Then there is Principal Jones, and the most fascinating Quentin, Brad’s friend. Each character is different with a set of traits that makes them unique.  

While this book is amusing and has the punches to excite and keep you glued. It also delivers some very significant life lessons. Through the sibling rivalry and the later change of heart in Brad, author Jason Lady teaches readers to rise above petty issues in relationships and value each person for their quirks as that is what makes them special. We may not appreciate them at that moment but it is these qualities that make each relationship inimitable. The lesson though are not just about relationships. It also reflects the undue pressure children face to excel academically when they are clearly artistically inclined. Parents need to accept and appreciate the talents their children possess rather than kill their passion. The author hits home with his ideas but is never condescending. This makes the book a fantastic read for all. I recommend it to everyone irrespective of age. Adults will reminiscence their childhood and children would revel in the reflection their lives.

I would like to thank Jason Lady for sharing his book for review. the views on the book are personal and not influenced by the author.

Gingersnap Snatcher by Vicky Weber

A simply adorable book for children with charming illustrations that will have children asking for more. Gingersnap Snatcher by Vicky Weber is a magnetic yet humorous tale of three children who love to eat their Grandma’s Gingersnap cookies. So when the kids learn that Grandma has made cookies to eat after they daydream about it. Their dreams are filled with its flavor so much that they start to drool. They rush back home after school only to find the cookies missing. Left behind were only cookie crumbs. The three kids decide to follow the trail and catch the Gingersnap Snatcher. Their doubt rest upon their pets but it was not so. Who then is the thief? Read this engaging picture to find out.

The book is beautifully written in rhyme and it seems that one is singing and not reading. The illustrations along with the text add more to the charm making it a perfect read for the kids. It is a perfect companion to snuggle with children along with some hot chocolate and cookies. Highly recommended to parents and librarians to add to their collection.

The author has also added musical notes of the text for those musically inclined.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Mama I love you by Mona Liza Santos

Mama I Love You, by Mona Liza Santos is a lovely rhyming poem which describes the infinite love a mother has for her child. Through a heartwarming poem author has expressed and celebrated the bond between a child and a mother. Taking her personal relationship with her son, she has written a poem which shows the extent to which a mother can go for her child. A mother can cross any hurdle to help her child achieve his/her dreams, she is there to brush away fears, she helps a child dream big, and is always there no matter what the situation.

The illustrations by Anuradha beautifully compliment the poem and add a charm to the reading. The text is simple and fun to read like a sing along. The poem is written in a delightful rhyming scheme yet at times it seemed that the author had forced words to rhyme. This at times made me halt in my reading as it felt really jarring.

Yet it is a sweet read for toddler and Kindergarten children as they learn to appreciate the bond with their mothers.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Sometimes When I’m Mad by Deborah Serani

Anger is a universal emotion that affects each one of us. Some are better equipped at handling their anger while others struggle with it. Children also experience a myriad of emotions from the time they are born. They are too young to understand the feelings each emotion awakens in them. The book Sometimes When I’m Mad by the psychologist, Dr. Deborah Serani, and illustrator, Kyra Teisby psychologist, is an excellent resource to help children understand that anger is a natural feeling. The book deals with managing anger and how a child can better express it. The book shares several life-like situations where a child can experience anger and due to lack of understanding lash out at things and people. Instead of berating the child, each situation has an elder helping the child to calm down. The anger can arise from a simple irritation over spilled milk and transcend into anger and rage. But when dealt with in a proper manner the child can channel the feelings into something creative or something they make like to do. This in turn helps them deal with anger. The anger management techniques mentioned in the book are like valuable pearls which should be extremely useful for counselors in school and outside, social workers, teachers, parents, and any other adult or guardian caring for children who struggle with anger.

This book is a must-read guide that explains in a simple yet lucid manner how anger surfaces and what we can do to help a child manage it towards a healthy mind. The illustrations blend in completely with the text giving it a visual treat as well as making the serious topic much lighter. this would make a great addition to the parenting section in schools as well for personal libraries at home.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

THE BOY WHO LOVED BOXES BY MICHAEL ALBANESE

The pandemic struck the world catching us all unaware and unprepared. Not even in the wildest of our dreams did we imagine a scenario where a disease has the whole world in its grip. This left the world in a depressing state leaving us to fend for ourselves alone. Each individual is battling a battle which no one knows and this pandemic created an abyss so deep that its difficult to cross.

Michael Albanese’s book, The Boy Who Loved Boxes , is aptly titled since we all are currently living in glass boxes completely containing ourselves in it. Even though a picture book it is suitable for adults too hence, the sub-title, A children’s book for adult. Many times we dismiss picture books to be meant solely for kids. Doing this we often miss out on the underlying themes and messages that are hidden in them. This book can also be dismissed by adults since its a picture book. A second look and one would find a deep allegory in this. Through the allegory the author is not moralizing or sharing a political thought. Rather in a very subtle way Michael shares how we as individuals happen to box or bundle things away in our desire to control life. We forget to live in the moment and enjoy the present. The pandemic showed that we do not control everything and its a false illusion after which we run. An illusion which fades away like a mirage the more we seek control. The solution to this is to seek peace within and accept life with its ups and downs. Life is not a competition or race rather a journey and we should enjoy it while we are on the way.

Through simple illustrations by Todd Wilkerson, its shown that we tend to develop the habit of boxing things and emotions during our childhood in seeking control. Hence it is imperative that we let our kids enjoy their childhood free of boxes and find love and peace.

A simple read with a deep profound meaning, definitely not restricted to kids but meant for everyone. Author Michael has created a beautiful book that showcases the ills of modern society and how its impact can affect us all.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. 

So How Will You Sleep by Annabel Gardiner

So How Will You Sleep by Annabel Gardiner is an adorable read for the tiny tots. Written in perfect rhyme it seems as if one is singing and not reading the text. The author has written the book in a conversation style between a mother and her child before bedtime. The mother asks the child how he/she would like to sleep since the sun is gone and its dark. She asks if the child would like to sleep like a bat hanging upside down. To which the child replies that hanging upside down to sleep in the dark doesn’t seem like an ideal place. The mother then goes on to share several ideas as to how the child can sleep like one of the animals. The ideas do not appeal to the child and is thrown aside. So what does the child finally decide? Where does he/she sleep? Read to find out.

The illustrations by Samantha Thorley add a different flair to the text and make it a cozy nighttime read. The texts are simple and font size are just flawless making it a endearing read for the younger audience. The illustrations that accompany them on each page create magic and seems to take you on a safari. I highly recommend this book for parents looking a perfect book to snuggle next to their children in bed. An exquisite bed time read that can soon turn into a routine.

On a last note, do not dismiss the book as a light read for the tiny tots. A s the author takes us through the sleep routine of each animal the children are also introduced to their habitat through the illustrations. For the older children its a perfect book to learn to read using the rhyming words. A book that could be landing point of discussions and a suitable company for children learning to read. The added bonus of looking for the caterpillar added to the fun and thrill of reading. As an adult even I kept a watch hunting for him.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.