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Vinita Srivastava
Illustrated by Kyo Maclear
Toronto, Sister Vision Press, 1991. unpaginated, paper, $6.95
ISBN 0-920813-68-2

Kindergarten to Grade 5/Ages 5 to 10

Reviewed by Lillian M. Turner.

Volume 20 Number 2
1992 March

The student author is a member of both the Women's Centre and the United Coalition Against Racism at the University of Toronto. Kyo is a Fine Arts student, also at U. of T, teaches art and is active in the anti-racist and anti-apartheid movement.

This delightful story with its hint of racism features Azalea, a giant who lives within Shanti, a little East Indian girl. Azalea has a flute and plays the songs she has heard at the Indian market while Shanti sings along with the music. At school, her best friend is Jackie and all goes well until Jackie's mother forbids them to play together anymore. When Shanti confides her sadness to her giant. Azalea begins to play her flute and the music brings strength and peace to the troubled child along with the idea that Jackie's mother might let them play together again if only she could hear it, too.

Shanti secretly teaches her song to Jackie and they practise all week at school for parents' night. When their time comes to perform on stage their teacher introduces them as two very special friends. Their song makes everyone happy, including Jackie's mother, who claps and smiles, and Shanti learns that she can get along without her beloved giant, whose spirit she knows will always live within her. By solving their problem, the children learn a measure of self-reliance.

The expressive full-page black-and-white drawings add interest.

Recommended for ages five to ten.

Lillian M. Turner, Board of Education for the City of York, Toronto, Ont.
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