08 Sep / Tamarind and the Star of Ishta by Jasbinder Bilan [in School Library Journal]
British actor Seema Bowri makes her narrating debut, her crisp, youthful voice an ideal match for 11-year-old Tamarind, a Bristol, England-raised girl meeting her late mother’s family for the first time. Her father, recently remarried and on his way to his honeymoon, arranges to leave Tamarind in the Himalayan mansion her mother once called home.
Tamarind’s initial nervousness is quickly eased by the palpable welcome, especially from her grandmother and 9-year-old cousin Arjun. She might have even made a new friend in the sprawling, overgrown gardens. While Tamarind yearns to learn more about her mother, no one seems willing to share any memories. From mythical cities to the ancient goddess Ishtar, Bilan seamlessly infuses her sophomore middle-grade novel with just enough mayhem and magic.
Verdict: Bowri warmly enhances Tamarind’s quest for answers and understanding.
From the introduction: For the latest audio roundup, we turn to titles inspired by fairy tales and mythology, each published in 2022. Rewriting, adapting, subverting the familiar has long been a popular literary trope – who can argue with universal appeal? Cinderella, especially, continues to be an evergreen favorite, appearing in multiple stories, often in surprising permutations. Read (and listen) on!
Readers: Middle Grade