The Kiosk by Anete Melece. Translated by Elīna Brasliņa. Gecko Press, 2020. 9781776572991
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: Picture book fiction
What did you like about the book? In this Latvian export, a plump lady lives and works in her kiosk in the middle of town. Many people come to buy her wares, whether newspapers, magazines, or water, and sometimes they just come to talk. One day her kiosk blows over, and her world “tips upside down!” But this plucky entrepreneur takes a walk and sees the rest of the town. You see, she wasn’t able to get out of her kiosk, so this accident is perhaps a blessing in disguise. After another freak mishap, the kiosk lady establishes herself by the seaside and lives her best life. The watercolor art depicts her cozy world with broad strokes of deep color, in a naive graphic style. Use of different perspectives and layouts make it a fun visual romp. Many characters reappear at different points in the story, and young readers will enjoy pointing them out. The lady’s exploits show someone making the best of life.
A link on the page opposite the title page points the reader to a short animated film from which the book is derived (the animated film may not be appropriate for young viewers.)
Anything you didn’t like about it? Although there is no explicit fat shaming, size will be a question for kids.
And there are barely any non white faces.
Not a criticism, so much a question about whether many young American readers will know what a kiosk is. Maybe if they have been to Harvard Square…?
To whom would you recommend this book? For ages 5-8, for readers who enjoy quirky books.
Who should buy this book? Public libraries where there is a call for books outside the American canon.
Where would you shelve it ? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: October 21, 2020