illustrated by Shuchi Meta
In a warm, festive story that introduces readers to the Hindu holiday of Diwali, three anthropomorphic child monkeys—Suno, Dekho, and Jaano—receive a wrapped gift from Suno’s dadima (grandmother) on the eve of the celebration. The monkeys take turns guessing what might be inside that package (sparklers, bangles), discovering instead that the present holds a series of smaller wrapped gifts, each with its own riddle (“I am round and shiny, so keep me in a safe place”). Finally, the friends learn that the gifts are three silver coins with images of the deities Lakshmi and Ganesh; a video chat with Suno’s chuckling dadima reveals the thinking behind the present: “When you place it in the Pooja Thali on Diwali night, it makes all your wishes come true.” While the doe-eyed monkeys don’t get much in the way of distinct personalities, Koan’s polished digital cartoons make them expressive and relatable. An afterword offers more concrete details about the festival of lights, as well as a brief glossary defining terms mentioned in the text.