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“The greatest gift is a passion for reading.”
Summary: Borya and six babies live in an orphanage. The Mamachkas take good care of them: they feed the babies, they change their diapers, and they sing to them at night. Borya likes this. Then one day, two people come to the orphanage to see Borya. They don't talk like the Mamachkas; he doesn't understand them. Then they take him away. What are these places? Who are these people? Where is he going? Borya is confused and scared. What is happening to him? This adoption story captures a toddler's view of being adopted.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 8; read yourself: 9 to 11
Interest Level: 5 to 8
Reading Level: 4.7
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: It is hard to find adoption stories told from the perspective of the child, and this does a nice job with describing the feelings and thoughts we would expect a child to have. The illustrations create the scene for a positive story, and the babies are each distinct enough that even if your child doesn't look like Borya, s/he can connect with one of the other babies who had the same experience.
Pros: Children adopted as toddlers or preschoolers will be happy to see themselves in this story.
Cons: The story is good, but the book needs an editor. Typos and inconsistent spellings happen frequently enough to question the books quality. The author repeatedly explains that boys are on the right and girls are on the left, but the illustrations don't match this description.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. There are few "individual stories" about children adopted as toddlers or preschoolers, and even fewer about Eastern European adoption. This is a nice story to share.
Educational Themes: Parents and counselors will find this a useful story for describing the process of adoption (though it is more visual than explicit), as well as all of the emotions and feelings that go with it.
Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 4.7
Literary Categories: Fiction - adoption, family, picture book