An originally designed, gorgeously illustrated new vision of an old tale.


A kindhearted monkey and an elderly crocodile forge an unlikely bond.

Miss Bandari is a monkey who’s known for her bighearted kindness. One day, while sitting in a plum tree, she meets Mr. Magarmach, an elderly crocodile whose aging body makes it impossible for him to hunt. Hearing him groan with hunger, Miss Bandari throws Mr. Magarmach a sweet plum. Thus begins a friendship between the aged reptile and the sweet simian, who enjoys hearing her new friend’s tales of adventure and bravery. One day, hoping to repay Miss Bandari’s generosity, Mr. Magarmach invites her to lunch. Luckily, on the way, they run into Dame Hati the elephant, who warns Miss Bandari that King Crocodile lives in Mr. Magarmach’s swamp and surely wants to have Miss Bandari for his own lunch! Thanks to Dame Hati’s intervention, Miss Bandari invents a quick lie that saves her life but breaks her heart: After this betrayal, she doesn’t know if she’ll ever trust Mr. Magarmach again. In this innovative reimagining of a classic narrative from the Indian folktale collection known as the Panchatantra, Ahmed and Dalvand develop a cast of quirky, fascinating characters using simple language, innovative text placement, and lavish, intricately detailed illustrations. The exact plot uses the original folktale as a jumping-off point rather than a template, and the twists and turns, both visual and literary, will keep readers old and young engaged.

An originally designed, gorgeously illustrated new vision of an old tale. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-910328-46-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiny Owl

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.


A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book.


Friends don’t let friends expire in snowdrifts.

Convoluted storytelling and confusing art turn a cute premise into a mishmash of a book. Scooper’s a front loader that works in the town salt yard, replenishing the snowplows that arrive. Dumper’s her best friend, more than happy to plow and salt the roads himself. When the big city calls in Dumper to help with a snow squall, he brushes off Scooper’s concerns. Yet slippery roads and a seven-vehicle pileup launch poor Dumper onto his side in a snowbank. Can Scooper overcome fears that she’s too slow and save the day? Following a plot as succinct as this should be a breeze, but the rhyming text obfuscates more than it clarifies. Lines such as, “Dumper’s here— / let’s rock ’n’ roll! / Big city’s callin’ for / some small-town soul” can prove impenetrable. The art of the book matches this confusion, with light-blue Dumper often hard to pick out among other, similarly colored vehicles, particularly in the snowstorm. Speech bubbles, as when the city calls for Scooper’s and Dumper’s help, lead to a great deal of visual confusion. Scooper is also featured sporting long eyelashes and a bow, lest anyone mistake the dithering, frightened truck as anything but female. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 16.8% of actual size.)

Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9268-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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