Children

If You Were Me and Lived In the American West by Carole P Roman (Illustrated by Paula Tabor)

If You Were Me and Lived In the American West by Carole P Roman (Illustrated by Paula Tabor)

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Children, Nonfiction, Educational
Imprint: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, North Charleston, SC
ISBN: 1532877846

Carole P Roman, a children’s books author, is best known for her series “If You Were Me and Lived In…” that tells children, and adults, about how life was at different places during different times. She collaborates with different artists for illustrations of her books.

In the book If You Were Me and Lived In the American West, Carole P Roman tells us what it was like to live in the times of the Great Migration, with the help of neat and appealing illustrations by Paula Tabor. The author tells us about where the people started from, how they travelled during migration, what happened throughout the journey, what they did once they reached the west, what they ate, what they wore and where they lived. It must be appreciated that the author also talks about the Red Indians and has tried to explain as much as possible keeping the children in mind.

As usual, the books of “If You Were Me and Lived In…” series by Carole P Roman are informative for both children and adults. Yet another good book from the series.

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What’s Neema Eating Today? by Bijal Vachharajani (Illustrations by Priya Kuriyan)

What’s Neema Eating Today? by Bijal Vachharajani (Illustrations by Priya Kuriyan)

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Children
Imprint: Pratham Books

What’s Neema Eating Today? is a children’s book by Bijal Vachharajani with illustrations by Priya Kurian. It is a book that tells kids as well as adults on what to eat according to different seasons. Not only the names of tasty fruits and vegetables, the illustrations also make the book all more enjoyable. The colourful pictures will definitely make kids want to eat fruits and vegetables, especially the Neema gobbles her food in the illustrations. Apart from foods, the book also explains about different season. So, this book is good for kids, and also to adults who want to read to their kids. The author and illustrator of the book needs a huge round of applause for not using a fair skinned girl to depict Neema.

If You Were Me and Lived in Ancient Greece by Carole P Roman (Illustrations by Mateya Arkova)

If You Were Me and Lived in Ancient Greece by Carole P Roman (Illustrations by Mateya Arkova)

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Children Nonfiction
ISBN: 9781523234295
Imprint: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, North Charleston, SC

Carole P Roman is children book author and is known for her series of books “If You Were Me and Lived In…” showcasing life in different countries and also different eras. Illustrations are by Mateya Arkova and her illustrations are cute and splendid at the same time.

If You Were Me and Lived in Ancient Greece belongs to the same series of children books by Carole P Roman. As the name suggests, the author tells the readers, children or adults, how their lives would be in ancient Greece. Starting with how Greece would have looked back then, where it is located, which era, what common names, democracy, Mount Olympus, gods and goddesses, cities and states, wars, households and family hierarchy to food and beverages, occupations, education, clothes, jewellery, hair, markets, trade, the Olympics, philosophers and Alexander the Great. The rich heritage of Greece in Western civilization makes this book more interesting and informative to children as well as adults.

This book is a good way to keep your children busy reading as there is no hint of boredom here.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander

Review by Shwetha H S

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander is one of the books that’s part of Harry Potter’s curriculum in Hogwarts. Though this book claims to be an encyclopaedia about magical animals, it turns out to be a mere catalogue, all the magical animals in alphabetical order. It is a commendable effort to come up with seventy-five species of magical animals, but the descriptions don’t cater much to the reader’s imagination regarding the physical appearances of certain animals. Considering this book to be part of Hogwarts’ curriculum, how can students rely on this book? At some places the description is just splendid, but for rest we have to just keep calm. Unsure about how the animals are meant to be, now the reader has to rely on the movie version of this book. But, the way categorisation of beasts is done and how each animal or beast is different from the other, makes us appreciate the mesmerising world of Harry Potter and other witches and wizards. Of course, now Muggles too.

If You Were Me and Lived In...Italy: A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the World by Carole P. Roman and Illustrated by Kelsea Wierenga

If You Were Me and Lived In…Italy: A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the World by Carole P. Roman and Illustrated by Kelsea Wierenga

Review by Shwetha H S

If You Were Me and Lived In is a series of children’s books that takes you to different countries in the world and explains about life and culture there. The reviewed book is about Italy and it doesn’t disappoint the reader, whether it is child or a parent. Author Carole P Roman and the illustrator Kelsea Wierenga have done a fantastic job in the genre of children’s book by combining information with entertainment i.e. the illustrations. This book also comes with a pretty postcard that has flags of different nations and depicting children of different races standing together holding each other’s hands.

Starting from why is Italy named so to its history, from popular Italian names to popular Italian food, from important historical monuments to recent structures and the story behind a popular day celebrated worldwide, all the basics about Italy have been covered in this lovely book for children. Since language is also a major part of the culture, the author has made efforts to teach children the basic words in Italian through this book. In fact, you get a glossary at the end of the book. I would recommend every parent to get a copy of this and any other book from the series for their children to get them started with reading as a hobby.

The Muse’s Fables: The Fondom of Ufasino Collection by Rachel Nkyete Nyambi

The Muse’s Fables: The Fondom of Ufasino Collection by Rachel Nkyete Nyambi

Review by Shwetha H S

We all are aware of Aesop’s Fables, which the famous ones in their genre. Rachel Nkyete Nyambi presents the Muse’s Fables, which are set in sub-Saharan Africa. True to the nature of fables, each one in this anthology will teach not only children but also adults how to live and let live. This collection of Muse’s Fables has nine stories.

You will meet Nkoh the bully, a disobedient Khola the Antelope, Prince Nyamekye and Pendo, a jealous Zuli, Nduru the squirrel and Mboma the snake, the Princess Bride Kagiso and simple Balondemu, Enam who comes to Baka, Kiburi who wants marry Prince Chinua, and friends turned lovers Chidi and Kianga. Apart from the fables, the best part of this book is the glossary at the end; this truly gives a glimpse into the culture of African countries. As an added bonus, you get to read a few poems from Rachel’s upcoming poetry collection.

Fables are meant to teach you lessons of life and the Muse’s Fables don’t fail in serving their purpose. One can read them to revive their childhood or read them to children. Either way, fables are welcome to our lives at any phase.

Twisting My Kaleidoscope by Shannon Love

Twisting My Kaleidoscope by Shannon Love

Review by Shwetha H S

What happens when a loving mother, wife and friend becomes psychotic? What happens to her doting family? How do her friends and extended family deal with this situation? How long do they have to suffer with a lunatic female who doesn’t realize that she is losing her mind?

Shannon Love is an expat residing in Beijing along with her husband Charles and three children. She has many friends in the expat community. They all have been living out of USA for so long that Beijing is their home now. An annual medical check up brings out reports about Shannon’s abnormal heart rates. Though her health is perfect, concerns about her heart don’t fade away. One thing leading to another, Shannon slowly develops a mental condition in which she imagines situations which are not true and listens to voices inside her head. Her husband’s company, unable to risk the health of expats, deports her for a time being to her home town in USA. She gets hospitalized to improve her condition. When things take a turn for betterment, they come back to Beijing. But is she cured completely? Does her psychosis relapse? What does her close circle of people do?

Shannon Love’s memoir is about her life with a psychotic condition and how her family and friends dealt with it. Her intention behind writing Twisting My Kaleidoscope is to let others know what a psychosis patient goes through and what the patient’s family goes through. As she has mentioned in the book, she has altered the events and situations in the narration to keep certain people out of the book due to privacy reasons. Apart from that, it is good book for one time read and is actually entertaining.

Secrets of Zynpagua: Return of the Princess by Ilika Ranjan

Review by Shwetha H S

This book is a refreshing break from other books that deal with complicated and materialistic adult life. Ilika Ranjan has shown that Indian authors too can take on writing fiction for children by simply swirling their own magic wands called pen. The colourful and well-illustrated cover and a character introduction card with a lined up pictures of all the main characters on it and the best part is it can be used as a bookmark too.

Secrets of Zynpagua: Return of the Princess is the first book in the Zynpagua series. As the name says, this book marks the return of the princess to Zynpagua along with her brother and uncle to save her family and people from the clutches of an evil scientist. This book tries to combine magic and science. And the best part is, the author has not tried to make the story unfold in some foreign country, but has based it in India and in a mystical land of Zynpagua.

Since this book is meant for children and young adults, author has written in a way that even children can understand. For example, she has written as “stretch pants” instead of thermal wear. But she also uses words like topography that very small children cannot understand unless explained what it means. In the acknowledgement, the author has mentioned that so and so person has illustrated and painted the sketches of the characters given in the book, but all the sketches in the book are in grayscale, and this disappoints a reader. The author also brings in the concept of soul mates in this book which is inappropriate in the book meant for children too. Had it been only for young adults, then this would have been accepted, but the idea of soul mates is hard to accept and puts in adult emotions and thoughts into young minds.

Flow of the story is really good as every event in it is well connected and is not purposeless. There is a reason behind whatever happens in the story and helps in taking the story further. No senselessly dragging just to make it a long story. This book is a commendable effort by the author, Ilika Ranjan, for catering to the young readers of India. Don’t forget to buy this book for your children. If you buy it, then be prepared to explain few concepts to your children if they are too young to understand them.