illustrated by Sybil Wettasinghe
School Library Journal:
K-Gr 3- A simple tale set in a Sri Lankan village. Kiri Mama, a rather sheltered “country mouse,” journeys to town and becomes fascinated with the umbrellas he sees there. (His neighbors use banana and yam leaves for their protection against the weather.) He brings home an umbrella, only to have it stolen; in fact, each new one that he buys disappears in the same mysterious way. Finally, Kiri Mama sets a trap and uncovers the thief a “Curious George”-type monkey but not before he puts his entrepreneurial talents to work and opens an umbrella store with the recovered booty. The story is pleasant, if a bit predictable, with a rather mild, albeit satisfying, climax and conclusion. It does give one a sense of country life in Sri Lanka, emphasizing the close relationship between people and nature in that culture. The acrylic illustrations reveal the setting admirably, although there are some inconsistencies. While none of the figures is particularly distinguishable in terms of facial expressions, that of Kiri Mama particularly suffers from blending in with the crowd, especially in the beginning of the book, and his facial features do not remain consistent throughout the illustrations. While not a first purchase, the book will introduce a lesser-known culture to children. Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, Wheeler School, Providence, R.I.