Rating 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a starred review) 4
Genre Picture book
What did you like about the book? This is a special story about the love between families and how that is expressed during the Indian festival Raksha Bandhan. This festival is a time when brothers and sisters show their respect for each other by exchanging special gifts. The sister makes a rakhi (thread bracelet) for her brother and the brother gives small presents to the sister. This book is written in the format of “Are You Sleeping, Brother John” and it shows the process of two young girls making a rakhi for their brother while he sleeps. The simple text and illustrations show the attention to detail and care that the girls put into the gift for their brother. When he awakes, they present him with their homemade gift and he offers small presents to them. This book is written by a mother and son team and Kabir Sehgal expresses fond memories of celebrating Rakhi with her own family. This can be seen in this sweet story about family love.
The vibrant illustrations provided by Zara Gonzalez Hoang make this story a joy to read. The colors and patterns in the girls’ clothing, the wallpaper in the home, and the materials used to create the rakhi reflect the rich and colorful fabrics and tapestries found in the Indian culture.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Nothing
To whom would you recommend this book? I think this book would be enjoyed by children three to five years old. Older children would enjoy making a rakhi to enhance the reading of this story. I could see this as a Pre-K story and project combination. This book provides a good example of generosity and working hard on something for others.
Who should buy it? Public libraries, preschools, daycares, nursery schools.
Where would you shelve it? Picture books.
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” pile? Yes, shows a special celebration in the Indian culture — important for young children to see how other cultures celebrate with their families.
Reviewer: Kristin Guay, Centerville Library, Centerville, MA
Date of Review: November 5, 2018