Festival Of Colors (Kabir Sehgal & Surishtha Sehgal)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Festival Of Colors, written by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal and illustrated by Vashti Harrison, a gorgeous look at the Hindu spring festival of Holi.

Chintoo and Mintoo are in their garden, preparing for Holi – a holiday most often celebrated through color. The children carefully pick the flowers they will need: hibiscus will make a bright red, marigolds a golden orange, and irises are just the thing for a vibrant blue. They bring the flowers home, lay them out to dry, collecting the petals when they have lost their moisture. Then the petals are crushed into fine powder, and bagged for the big day. Mintoo and Chintoo, along with their family, dress in white and collect their colors, gathering with their friends, family and neighbors. Then, at the right moment, POOF! An explosion of color as everyone throws their crushed petals in the air and at each other. At the end of the day, their white outfits now dusted with rainbow colors, the families enjoy all the things Holi celebrates: new starts, forgiveness, friendship, and color.

Lovely! What a fascinating and fun way to introduce Holi to those who are unfamiliar, and celebrate it for those who are. I had seen Holi celebrations before, and enjoyed learning about the origin of the colorful powders used, as well as the meaning of the festival. JJ adored the colors, flowers, and fantastic use of onomatopoeia. The illustrations are everything you could hope, featuring a Hindi cast in a wide range of skin tones, ages, and sizes and of course, plenty of bright, eye-catching color. The length was perfect, and JJ loved it. A wonderful way to learn about a beautiful holiday, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

The Wheels On The Tuk Tuk (Kabir Sehgal & Surishtha Sehgal)

Summer Reading Day 79: Our book today was The Wheels On The Tuk Tuk by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal, an awesome look at Indian culture told through a twist on a familiar tune. Set to “Wheels on the Bus,” Wheels On The Tuk Tuk can be read or sung (though JJ definitely preferred singing), and explores a different part of an Indian street scene in each verse. From yogis, to sacred cows, poppadoms, chai, rupees and Diwali, the tuk tuk wala takes his passengers and the readers on a fun and educational ride.

This was such a cool book! Using such a well-known rhyme is a perfect way to learn new words and traditions for little ones. It was a great length for JJ, and she loved singing and bouncing on my knee as we read (and side note: this was one of the most fun books for me TO read that we’ve reviewed so far), plus the illustrations by Jess Golden are adorable, colorful and beautiful. Lastly, as much fun as JJ had with it, older kids would love this book because it teaches so many awesome Indian and Hindi cultural elements: in addition to the rhyme, there is also a glossary in the back that explains all the references. This one is absolutely Baby Bookworm approved! We loved it!