Saturday, July 9, 2022

Today's read...Kesar and the Lullaby Birds by Aditi Oza

Yesterday, we were in London, and today, we're heading toward India! I stumbled across this picture book on Edelweiss and thought I'd take a peek. I'm so glad that I did, too. Not only is it a wonderfully done tale...(I promise I'm not reviewing it any more here, yet)...but the background is interesting.

The author is from India, a land rich with many very different cultures. This book takes a look at the salt desert read and concentrates on the customs there, building in not only the daily life but crafts, which are known for the area. In other words, there is a lot to be found in these pages.

Ready to take another hop around the world?

by Aditi Oza
Illustrated by Debasmita Dasgupta
Yali Books
Picture Book
40 pages
ages 4 to 8

Kesar’s baby sister Kamal will not sleep. Their entire village in the Great Rann of Kutch is kept awake by the infant’s cries and her parents are exhausted. When Kesar’s and Kamal’s ba comes to visit, her stories give Kesar a wonderful idea. Perhaps what Kesar needs to put her baby sister to sleep is a little bit of desert magic!

A vibrant celebration of traditional artisans from India, this picture book is a sweet sibling bedtime story at heart, featuring a big sister who figures out how to care for her baby sister with some help from her grandmother’s lovingly made gifts.



Imagination meets rich culture and crafts in a heart-warming tale of siblings and family.

Kesar's baby sister can't seem to sleep at night, only during the day, when everyone else is awake. Kesar's parents do their best to keep the baby happy and don't complain, but Kesar sees that it's wearing on them. When her grandmother comes to visit and gives Kesar some of her beautifully hand-crafted birds, Kesar has an idea which might just finally solve the family's problem.

This is such a lovely read, which comes from the heart...and that radiates from every page. It takes place in the Great Rann of Kutch, a large salt desert in India and portrays an everyday family in the typical living conditions and traditional culture of that area. The illustrations really let these aspects shine, showing the reader/listener the details while letting the main story still have control. It's subtle but clear, at the same time, so it never feels like a lesson...because it isn't.

The tale is something many readers, no matter where they live in the world, can identify with. Plus, even though the culture of the area is obvious on Kesar, she still comes across as normal as any other girl her age. Her kindness and love for her family comes through, but then, the entire family keeps a positive attitude. While a baby's crying can cause frustration, there's never a negative thought in these pages, but rather, the concern and hope to help take the main theme. 

While I do love the culture in this read, the tale is wonderful on its own as well, making this a read many listeners are sure to enjoy. Plus, it works as a great way to open up a theme in a group setting and for homeschoolers as well. The author's love for the area is obvious, and her extra statements at the end of the book add quite a bit of insight. As an extra bonus, the author does encourage the readers/listeners to try to create similar birds/animals on their own...which while with cloth and a needle might be difficult for the age group, would work very well with paper forms, too.

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