Review by Booklist Review
When Jyoti visits her grandmother in India, she finds it difficult at first. Sita Pati knows little English, and Jyoti knows little Tamil, yet they manage to communicate. Using colored sand, they make pictures in the courtyard, shop at the open-air market, and later play Pallanguzhi, a board game. Now fond of her grandmother, Jyoti must leave but tells her, "Poitu varen" ("I'll go and come back" in Tamil). The following summer, Sita Pati visits Jyoti's family. Sita Pati and Jyoti make chalk pictures on the sidewalk. After shopping at the grocery store, they play Chutes and Ladders. And when Sita Pati leaves, she promises, "Poitu varen." The story creates a lovely balance through the similarity of the characters' emotions, activities, and parting words. Based on LaRocca's childhood experiences as an Indian American, the well-cadenced text tells a story of international, intergenerational love. Palacios' digitally assembled illustrations, created with gouache and acrylic paints, are particularly effective in capturing the growing bond between grandmother and child. A vibrant picture book that reads aloud beautifully.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Centering a tender grandparent-grandchild relationship, LaRocca (Where Three Oceans Meet) offers an endearing narrator in Jyoti, who is visiting India from America for the first time since infancy. Feeling displaced and lonely, the child despairs, until Sita Pati takes notice and gently envelops Jyoti into her routine: "We spent our days playing and reading and cooking. At night, we sipped warm milk with saffron to bring us sweet dreams." Sensory details enrich the text while providing room for contrast: in India, "Sita Pati made chapatis, hot-hot, and flipped them with bare fingers. I ate one with spicy okra and cool yogurt rice." When Sita Pati visits America the next summer, it's Jyoti's turn to make her feel welcome: "We made hot-hot quesadillas. I ate them with salsa, and Pati chose coconut chutney." Warmly patterned and textured illustrations by Palacios (A Song of Frutas), rendered in gouache and acrylic and assembled digitally, further conjure the brown-skinned family and rich dual settings. A loving ode to intergenerational relationships and cultural exchange, beyond borders, years, and language barriers. Ages 3--7. Author's agent: Brent Taylor, Triada US. Illustrator's agent: Kendra Marcus and Minju Chang, Bookstop Literary. (Mar.)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
K-Gr 2--This lovely tribute to the child/grandparent relationship also gently honors cultural differences. A visit to India brings Jyoti to a house jumping with relatives and to a crowded city full of unfamiliar sights and sounds. Her kindly grandmother, Sita Pati, keeps her busy making designs in the courtyard with brightly colored sand, shopping in the outdoor market, playing games, and cooking chapatis. At night they sip warm milk with saffron to bring sweet dreams. The following summer, Sita Pati comes to America, where she is not used to the silence and looks lonely. Jyoti reciprocates with chalk drawing on the sidewalk, supermarket shopping, Chutes and Ladders, and making quesadillas. They drink hot cocoa for sweet dreams. Jyoti and Sita Pati say "I will go and come back" when their visits end, never "Good-bye," in a satisfying story told with great economy. Gouache and acrylic illustrations with the grainy effect of woodcuts and wonderful attention to textile patterns, exude the mutual delight between grandparent and grandchild. VERDICT A tender sharing of culture and empathy that bridges generations, and an essential purchase--Jan Aldrich Solow
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
The tender relationship between a grandmother and a grandchild extends beyond distance and language. When young Jyoti visits family in India, everything feels so different than in America. Although Jyoti and Sita Pati don't speak more than a few words in each other's language, Sita Pati reaches out, and the two bond. When Jyoti is sad to leave India, Sita Pati offers some comfort: the Tamil phrase poitu varen--I'll go and come back--used in place of the word goodbye. Later, when Sita Pati visits, Jyoti introduces her to life in America as once again they play, read, and cook together. The simple yet heartfelt text makes excellent connections between the fun they have in India and in America--in India, they prepare and eat chapatis, while in America they cook quesadillas; in India, they create Rangoli designs, while in America, they play hopscotch. Illustrations, done in gouache and acrylic and assembled digitally, exude tenderness as they depict Jyoti, Sita Pati, and their family in warm brown skin tones with dark hair. And their sweet promise of poitu varen can help any young child with family far away. (This book was reviewed digitally.) A loving depiction of familial connection between generations. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.