Friday, July 16, 2021

LLAMA GLAMARAMA by Simon James Green.  Illus. by Garry Parsons.  New York: Orchard books, 2020.  32p.  ISBN 978-133873618-2 hc. $14.99      PreS - Gr. 2      E PIC

Larry lived with a conservative, rule-following herd of llamas that probably wouldn't approve of his dancin' feet.  He hid all clues of dancing from his friends, until they walked in on him one evening.  He dashed away, and came upon a glamarama where creatures could just be themselves and dance to their heart's content.  Larry loved it!  He returned to tell his friends, knowing that they would reject him, but got a pleasant surprise.  They didn't mind.  They all had secrets about themselves, and were relieved to know that each was accepted as they were.  Isn't that what we all want?  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  

Friday, July 9, 2021

WISHES by Muon Thi Van.  Illus. by Victo Ngai.  New York: Orchard Books, 2021.  32p.  ISBN: 978-133830589-0 hc. $18.99      Gr. 1-4      E PIC

Based on the author's own experiences, the story of leaving the only home she every knew unfolds.  The family packed up in the middle of the night, because it wasn't safe to live their country anymore.  They boarded a boat that was too small to sail the waves of a turbulent ocean, seeking refuge in a port where they wouldn't be persecuted because of their politics.  This particular story is about leaving Viet Nam for Hong Kong, but the refugee saga is the same; the journey is dangerous and secretive.  For most, it's the only way out of a repressive environment, so the story continues to play out over and over again.  It's a  sad story that ends with hope for the future.  Ngai's somber illistrations are outstanding, conveying the serious nature of the story, but adding stylistic twists that make a big impression on the reader.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI