From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3–Just a couple of months after Arun wishes he had a sister with whom to celebrate Rakhi Day, his parents announce that they are adopting a girl. As he awaits his new sibling's arrival, he carefully crafts a special paper airplane, pretending that it is flying to India to bring her home. After more waiting, Dad finally retrieves Asha, who gives Arun the rakhi bracelet she clung to during the flight. An author's note provides additional details about adoption and the North Indian Hindu holiday that celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters, symbolized by a bracelet given by the sister. Realistic illustrations spread across the pages in muted colors and show well the characters' range of emotions, but Arun's adultlike narration does not match the innocence of his actions. While the text states that Arun is eight, his size seems to vary from picture to picture. Although Krishnaswami does add a unique perspective to a genre largely focused on Chinese adoptions, Janet Morgan Stoeke's Waiting for May (Dutton, 2005), Jean Davies Okimoto's The White Swan Express (Clarion, 2002), and Ed Young's My Mei Mei (Philomel, 2006) more fully describe the adoptive family's process.–Julie R. Ranelli, Kent Island Branch Library, Stevensville, MD
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Arun longs for a sister, so he is excited when his parents tell him that they are adopting a baby girl from India, his father's native country. As the year drags on and his parents speak of forms and permissions, Arun studies the baby's photograph and eagerly plans for her arrival. Finally, a full year later, his father returns with baby sister Asha and a special rakhi or bracelet for brother Arun. Filled with tender details, the story opens and closes on the Hindu holiday Rakhi, a day when siblings honor each other. Chalk pastel illustrations follow the text closely, but the dark palette of blues and grays sets a somber tone for the joyful story. Arun's tale presents an authentic slice of East Indian American life and provides a fresh perspective in adoption stories. An appended note adds information about Rakhi. Suggest Allen Say's Allison (1997) and Jean Davis Okimoto's White Swan Express (2002) to readers who want more on the topic of adoption. Linda Perkins
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