Saturday, June 15, 2024

Sejal Sinha Dives for Diamonds on Neptune by Maya Prasad

I'm excited about today's read  because I'm ready to jet off to space, too, and find a few diamonds. Who wouldn't be? This is the third book in a series for beginning readers. I haven't read the first two (can't break that habit!) but don't believe that will be an issue. The cover screams fun and I already adore the pets (?) on the cover. 

Anyone else up for a quick adventure?

Sejal Sinha #3
by Maya Prasad
Illustrated by Abira Das
Chapter Book Adventure
128 pages
ages 6 to 9

In the third book in the chapter book series about a young Indian American girl who loves science and has a big imagination, Sejal and the gang soar through outer space—perfect for fans of The Magic School Bus and Over the Moon !

Sejal’s puppy eats the page in her notebook with her best ideas. Her little brother throws a tantrum over string cheese. Sometimes, Sejal wishes she could escape being a big sister. After an embarrassing snot incident, her older cousin Ash is ready to leave the planet, too.

Ash has been working on a very cool science project about a theory that it rains diamonds on Neptune. Treasure hunting on another planet sounds like the perfect out-of-this world adventure to Sejal! But getting to Neptune might be harder than she and Ash think, especially when they find a couple of stowaways in their spaceship…



It's off to space and beyond in an exciting read with nibbling puppies, math-genius cheetahs, and maybe a diamond or two along the way.

Sejal is fed up with life around her. Her puppy eats her notebook of ideas, her little brother throws a tantrum about everything, and she just can't seem to get a little calmness anywhere. Her older cousin Ash accompanies her on a walk with the puppy, which doesn't end much better, but Ash's science project gives her a great idea. Supposedly, diamonds form on Neptune, and one would make the perfect present for her grandparents, who are visiting from India. Now, her and Ash just need to transform a paper box into a rocket ship and and get one.

This is the third book in the series. I haven't read the others, but that isn't a problem, since each book holds a single adventure to make great standalones.

The power of imagination comes across with the brilliance of a gem to create an exciting adventure. While this begins rooted in reality, it jets off to space with a little humor, moments of tension, and a box full of curiosity and determination. From lacking fuel for the space ship to an unexpected stop on one of Neptune's moons, the tale stays quick paced with more than a few surprises. The entire time, the thin line between reality and fantasy blurs and illustrates how fun imagination can be. I had to smile when they first entered space and Ash says, "I forgot how strong your imagination is, Sejal!" And yet, the ending holds something, which will have many readers questioning if it was only the imagination. It's a lovely balance to make dreams take flight.

While this is a fun adventure, there's also a decent amount of science and facts worked in. With natural flow, Sejal's mother and Ash discuss the diamonds and Neptune. As Sejal considers heading there to get a diamond, the cheetah (stuffed animal) jumps in with technical support and explains certain facts as they mold into the adventure. Some are basic (like gravity), while others offer some lesser known insights. All of this melds very well into the action, keeping all dryness far away. 

The entire read is very well set for chapter book readers, who are sure of their words but need more time and practice. The font is larger, the chapters short, and the lovely illustrations add plot assistance while adding atmosphere to the excitement. It's a fun read from beginning to end, and I am looking forward to see what other adventures lay in store.

And here they are...

Maya Prasad is a South Asian American author, a Caltech graduate, and a former software engineer. She currently resides in the Pacific Northwest, where she enjoys hiking, canoeing, and raising her budding bookworm kiddo. She’s the author of young adult novel Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things and the Sejal Sinha chapter book series. Maya has also had short fiction published in Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YACast of Wonders, and Voyage YA. She is passionate about creating brown girl leads in children’s literature.

Abira Das is a freelance artist with experience in book illustration, graphic design, and video game art. She is the illustrator of the Sejal Sinha chapter book series.

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