Off-Limits by Helen Yoon

Cover image for Off-Limits.

Off-Limits by Helen Yoon (9781536207316)

Dad’s office is off limits for playing. But the temptation to enter is irresistible. Maybe if the little girl just looks around and doesn’t touch anything. Perhaps one piece of tape won’t hurt anything… Soon the lamp has a tape scarf and looks lovely. She then discovers the paper clips and binder clips which quickly form into necklaces, crowns and more. Post-It notes come next and soon the room is filled with paper chains, lines of notes, and that’s when she realizes that it’s gotten out of control. She sneaks out, trailing office supplies in her wake to hide in her room. But what does she find there?

Yoon has taken my own love of office supplies and turned it into a picture book that celebrates creativity and the joy of tape, post-its and binder clips. Readers will feel the barely suppressed need to play with the office supplies at first and then the relief of just giving in and doing it. Told in the voice of the little girl, the text is entirely her dialogue as she plays, rationalizing along the way what she is doing and then her horror at discovering how far she went.

The illustrations are a huge part of the delight of this picture book. The tape alone offers so much visual pleasure with it in her hair, dangling like earrings, and taping her mouth shut. Then come the clips and the sticky notes, and the entire book swirls with ideas until in one final amazing page, it all comes together into a stage-like finale. Add in the twist in the end and it is so much fun!

A dazzling look at office supplies that get out of control. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Candlewick.

Sona Sharma, Very Best Big Sister? by Chitra Soundar

Cover image for Sona Sharma.

Sona Sharma, Very Best Big Sister? by Chitra Soundar, illustrated by Jen Khatun (9781536214826)

Sona lives in a home with lots of family members and others who stop by regularly. There is her mother and father, Thatha, her grandfather, Paatti, her grandmother, and The President who lives in the neighborhood. There is also Elephant, her best friend, and a toy she has had since she was tiny. When Amma, Sona’s mother, tells her that she is expecting a new baby, Sona isn’t so sure that it’s good news. She will have to share her room and her things with the new baby. Sona wants badly to be the best big sister ever, but sometimes her emotions get in the way. She has a chance to help pick the perfect name for the new baby, but she may just wait too long in the end.

Perfectly pitched for young readers, this early chapter book is a glimpse of life in India with rickshaws to get to school, jasmine in the garden, and pooris for a snack. Sona’s reaction to a new baby is just right, an honest mixture of wanting to participate and also resenting what she may lose too. The extended family plays a large part in giving Sona both the attention and the space she needs to process her feelings without making her ashamed along the way.

The illustrations add to the depiction of life in India, capturing the connection of the family members, shared meals, and crowded streets. The images are full of warmth and love.

A look at the emotions of a new baby combined with a visit to India. Appropriate for ages 5-7.

Reviewed from ARC provided by Candlewick.