IBBY Review October 20th, 2016
Kangaroo Kisses Nandana Dev Sen, illus. Pippa Curnick, Burley Gate: Otter-Barry Books, hb. 978 1 9109 5900 8, 2016, £11.99, 24pp. [Picture book. 1–5 years. Keywords: bedtime; anthropomorphism; rhyme; imagined adventures.] This colourful beautifully illustrated picture book tells the story of an imaginative little girl who is ‘Not yet!’ ready for bed! Perfect for children aged 1–5 years as the book has so many details to look at but also big, expansive scenes that will directly appeal to young children. Page by page, the animals in her bedroom or bathroom come to life. A child reader is likely to enjoy spotting the visual clues dotted all over the illustrations; for example, the giraffe pattern on the towel or the bear-like wrap hung on the door before these creatures turn into wild, friendly creatures. The story has a good pace as the little girl has a series of adventures: from singing and dancing with musical rhinos to climbing trees with lively monkeys, ending with her kissing a friendly kangaroo. Rhyming couplets give this narrative a sparkly quality with interesting words such as ‘snuggle’, ‘nuzzle’, ‘squeeze’ and ‘tickle’ all standing out in a larger, bold font. Any adult reading this book will also smile at the perennial problem of coaxing a young child into bed at night when the child has completely other ideas! The bedtime routine is alluded to but in a subtle way, such as elephants flossing their tusks and bears brushing their fur. From Kangaroo Kisees. Copyright© 2016 Nandana Dev Sen (text), Pippa Curnick (illus). Reproduced with permission Otter-Barry Books. This book has many talking points. The little girl’s bedroom is lit up at the beginning but dark at the end just before she settles down for sleeping, inviting a comparison or peering at carefully. Also, the little girl’s special rabbit pops up in every page, just waiting to be noticed. Most exciting, I think, is the use of the single to double spreads in the picture-book format that move the story from the home (usually a single page) out to the brightly appealing animal scenes (usually double spreads), which emphasise the little girl’s imaginative qualities.
Curling Up with a Good Book 5*/5*: “Kangaroo Kisses is a beautifully written children's books with vivid, bright, colorful illustrations. I would recommend Kangaroo Kisses to any parent who enjoys reading to their kids at night and who has a bedtime routine that they like to instill with their children.”
Feathered Quill Book Reviews: “The illustrations are colorful and adorable, while the actual story expertly combines reality with fantasy. Quill says: A true bedtime story, this is one that should become a staple for all parents and children to enjoy.”
Critical Blast: “…an adorable new picture book, Kangaroo Kisses is a short and fun tale perfect for bedtime... I highly recommend this one! Super cute, and definitely an author/illustrator duo to watch.”
Kirkus Reviews: “Smiles and wild creatures abound in this playful mother-child bedtime routine. A warm and spirited invitation to dreamland.”
Mrs. Mommy Booknerd: “A very sweet bedtime story that sparks the imagination and delights both parents and children alike. This would be a great book to add into your nightime line up.”
The Friendly Book Nook: “This is a very sweet book. Even though it is perfect for very young children (preschool or Kindergarten), my second graders loved it…. I can’t wait to read it to my grandsons!”
Books for Keeps: 5*/5* “Reading aloud well, the rhymes jump off the page as listeners join in and enjoy the illustrations. The illustrations match this bedtime scenario perfectly.”
Mirrors Windows Doors: “Kangaroo Kisses is author Nandana Dev Sen’s first book published in the UK but hopefully not the last… so well crafted that it requires no effort to make it into a great shared readaloud experience... Taking Kangaroo Kisses as an example, we can certainly look forward to some wonderful books that encompass diversity and promote empathy – and that children will want to have read to them again and again.” http://mirrorswindowsdoors.org/wp/review-kangaroo-kisses-by-nandana-dev-sen-and-pippa-curnick/
Parents in Touch: “It's full of fun and captures perfectly a child's reluctance to stop having fun and simply go to sleep.”
Book Trust (Largest Reading Charity/UK): “A charming bedtime story in verse that's easy to read and easy to share, with lots of lively and colourful animal illustrations on every page.”
Reading Zone – Best New Picture Books: “A lovely bedtime picture book…Lively rhyming text and colourful illustrations make this a great book for sharing.”
Armadillo: “The scenario is familiar to most parents and grandparents and this will make a great bedtime read, as well as being a good choice to read to small groups at a story time.” https://sites.google.com/site/armadillomagazine/picturebooks2a#TOC-Kangaroo-Kisses
ACHUKA: “Perfect bedtime reading.”
Red Reading Hub: “The blend of fantasy and reality works well.”
Dolphin Book Blog: “Beautifully produced in hard back by OtterBarry Books. It is a book of adventures for bedtime as the toys become real wild animals… Great for young children.”
Mambi and the Forest Fire
Kanika G's Books - July 2017
Mambi And The Forest Fire is a gorgeous picture book... an excellent story to read out loud. The plot is simple, so it is easy to follow in a group reading, but there is also enough drama and suspense to keep the kids hooked. I read this book to the kids in my daughter's school, and they loved it.
Mambi is an adorable, bright eyed, excitable, monkey living in a tall mango tee in the middle of a forest. Koko the crow and Tonga the turtle are her two best friends. They are both self confident and have amazing abilities. Koko can fly and glide through the air and Tonga can swim and glide through the water. Mambi finds both these things exciting but to her dismay, she can do neither. Koko and Tonga laugh at her as she tries to fly and swim and fails spectacularly both times.
Mambi is sad that she does not have any special abilities of her own. But she loves her friends and she is happy for Koko when Koko's eggs hatch and three perfect chicks emerge. With that happy thought, Mambi falls a sleep on a hot dry summer night.
Late in the night Mambi is woken up by the scorching heat of flames from the forest fire. In this crisis situation, Mambi discovers her own special ability. But will it help her save her friends from the hungry flames? Read on to find out.
- Mambi with all her goodness and self doubt is lovable and easy for kids to relate to.
- The book shows that courage is not the lack of fear, but the ability to do the needful in spite of being terrified.
- Mambi does not let petty resentment hold her back, when her friends really need her.
- This is an excellent story to read out loud to a group of kids. The plot is simple, so it is easy to follow in a group reading, but there is also enough drama and suspense to keep the kids hooked. I read this book to the kids in my daughter's school, and they loved it.
The book is suitable for 3 to 6 year old kids.
"Monkeyshines are good for something!"
"Nandana Dev Sen crafts a delightfully uplifting story for chldren to remind the little ones that being different is more than okay."
- Chintan Modi, The Hindu
"Mambi and the Forest Fire is a must read for all children as well as parents, who will thoroughly enjoy not only the rich language used to create a wonderful story, but also the beautiful illustrations."
Review: Read Diverse 2017
A classic bedtime picture book where the child and parent tussle for control. In this imaginative story in rhyme, all naughtiness has to end in niceness and it does. The story has also been translated into Bengali by the author herself, with a little help from her mother, the legendary poet Nabaneeta Dev Sen. It’s a great book to read aloud and children could of course even act it out – as long as they do get into bed with a little kiss – as weary parents would know.