Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books


Fall 2003 Picture Books
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Uma Krishnaswani
Illustrator: Jamel Akib
ISBN: 0-374-35015-9
Hardcover Price: $16.00
All summer, people have "worn the scent of dust--/ gravelly, grainy, gritty," as they wait for the skies to release their monsoon holdings. In Uma Krishnaswami's new book, readers are introduced to the complex relationship the citizens of India have with their monsoon rains, those endless days of constant wetness that are both life-giving and treacherous. The anticipation builds through the perspective of the narrator, a young girl in a middle-class family in urban India, as she wonders if in fact it will ever rain. In cities such as New Dehli, where summer highs commonly reach 110 degrees and air-conditioning is non-existent, rain can be a blessing, even as it snarls traffic and floods out buildings. Krishnaswami's text is lyrical fiction, but written with the line-breaks and evocative language of free-verse poetry. An author's note at the end gives further perspective on the role of monsoons in India and other South Asian countries. Jamel Akib's warm-hued illustrations perfectly capture the noise and action of modern India, complete with "Bollywood" movie posters among the many background details. Add this book to a read-aloud list for children and parents everywhere.
Zarina Mullan Plath   ©2003 Parents' Choice
Zarina Mullan Plath has undergraduate degrees in both biology and English. Her interests include cookbooks/culinary history, South Asian literature (especially in regards to South Asians in America), and, of course, children's literature. Her poetry is included in the anthology Sweeping Beauty (U. of Iowa Press, 2005). Zarina lives in Central Illinois with her husband, two children, and assorted pets.

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