“At the very beginning of time,” spoken words had the power to become true—as protagonists Tiri the Arctic fox and Ukaliq the Arctic hare soon realize in this traditional Inuit tale.

In this “time of magic words” all the Earth is in a state of darkness. It is great for the nocturnal animals like Tiri, who can easily see and hunt in the dark. He makes sure the darkness prevails by calling its name: “Taaq, taaq, taaq!” Ukaliq overhears Tiri and thinks it unfair to have only darkness. How can she find food? She calls out the word for day, “Ubluq, ubluq, ubluq!” and so light comes into the world in a spectacular double-page spread in which the verso is dominated by the huge arc of the yellow, rising sun. The two disagree and argue and finally decide on a compromise that will “give each other enough time to find a meal or two before the other changes the light in the sky.” Rumbolt grew up listening to traditional Inuit stories and customs shared by her family and other elders. Her cadenced retelling of this traditional origin story will help young readers learn how to compromise and problem solve. Lishchenko’s deliberate palette of black and white, plus touches of a few other colors, plays strikingly with negative and positive space and adds a subtle dimension to this story of opponents learning how to coexist.

Spare and beautiful . (Picture book/religion. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77227-180-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

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Adults wishing to expand the worldviews of their young charges beyond Eurocentric interpretations will find plenty of visual...


From the Once Upon a World series

A retelling of the classic fairy tale with India as its setting.

This latest addition to the Once Upon A World series tells the well-known story of the maiden with beautiful long tresses locked away in a tower by an evil witch and the prince who falls in love with her. As with Perkins’ Cinderella (illustrated by Sandra Equihua, 2016) and Snow White (illustrated by Misa Saburi, 2016), the text has been simplified for a younger audience, and the distinguishing twist here is its setting in India. The mixed-media illustrations of plants, animals, village life, and, of course, Rapunzel, the witch, and the prince come alive in warm, saturated colors. Other than the visuals, there is little to differentiate the story from traditional tellings. As always, it is still the prince who will eventually lead Rapunzel to her salvation by taking her to his kingdom far away from the witch, but that is the nature of fairy tales. The only quibble with this book and indeed with this series is the board-book format. Given the fact that the audience most likely to enjoy it is beyond the board-book age, a full-size book would have done more justice to the vibrant artwork.

Adults wishing to expand the worldviews of their young charges beyond Eurocentric interpretations will find plenty of visual delights in this one, though they’ll wish it were bigger. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9072-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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Lots of detail and complex vocabulary mean most young children won’t linger past check-in at this hotel; older children will...


Bearing the tagline “A lift-the-flap book of discovery,” this board book for older children is meant to inspire garden explorations.

Its inviting house-shaped design with multiple peep-hole windows hints at what children will find inside. The first page explains that “A bug hotel is a multistory homemade habitat where creepy crawlies of all shapes and sizes can find a place to stay!” The benefits of providing accommodations for six different garden critters are then detailed, one per double-page spread. Information about each creature’s ideal environment and how humans can foster that habitat is behind the largest flap on each spread, which also includes a cutout through which the insect can be seen. “Snails come out mainly at night, so a dark and protected habitat helps to keep them cool, happy and safe from predators….” Smaller flaps discuss characteristics of each critter—pollination for bees, metamorphosis for butterflies, etc. The final spread reviews the various materials needed to attract different bugs to the garden. However, there are no instructions included or even websites to consult to assist readers in actually constructing a bug hotel. Birdhouse, published simultaneously using the same format, is somewhat more successful, possibly because birdhouses are more common.

Lots of detail and complex vocabulary mean most young children won’t linger past check-in at this hotel; older children will still need help from a caregiver or teacher . (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61067-766-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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