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by Roseanne Thong

illustrated by Eujin Kim Neilan


School Library Journal:

PreS-Gr 3— A Vietnamese girl feeds caged birds outside a Buddhist temple, beginning a cycle of good deeds continued by the townspeople, including a girl who gives away her red-velvet shoes, before circling back to the birds. Although written to illustrate the Buddhist philosophy of karma, the lesson of this simple story, that helping others is helpful to you, is universal. The muted and warm watercolor-on-board illustrations glow with gold, orange, red, and brown tones, although the girls’ unnaturally pink cheeks and lips give them a jarringly clownish look. One of the characters is a monk but the only explicit religious message is found in an author’s note that explains karma, nirvana, and samsara (the wheel of life). The arresting cover illustration of a child holding her hands in the air as birds fly into the distance foreshadows the story’s conclusion. That dramatic image will immediately engage readers in wondering how the birds will be freed. The slight story serves primarily as a framework for the lesson but the approach is gentle and nonjudgmental.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher’s School, Richmond, VA –Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst (Reviewed March 1, 2010) (School Library Journal, vol 56, issue 3, p134)


  • Notable Books for a Global Society: 2011


1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, Ages 0-8, Animals, Kindergarten, Pre-Kindergarten