Lucinda Builds a Harp (Spring Fling 2021 Kidlit)

Lucinda Builds a Harp

by Becky Benishek

Lucinda wanted to play the harp. But she was a tiny toad and the harp was for people.

She tried with all her fingers.

She tried with all her toes.

She even tried with her tongue!

It was no use.

“I’m just not the right size,” Lucinda said sadly.

“All you need is a toad-sized harp,” said wise old Timothy Toad.

“Maybe I can build one!” said Lucinda.

Lucinda measured and hammered, sanded and sawed.

The other toads were curious.

“Why do you want to play the harp?” they asked. “Aren’t the sounds we make good enough?”

“Of course they are!” said Lucinda. “But it’s fun to discover other sounds, too.”

The other toads thought about it. They began building their own instruments. And Timothy found a music teacher who taught everyone how to play. 

Soon Lucinda had her toad-sized harp — and an entire toad orchestra to play with her! 

Illustration source: Me + a Canva background.

This is an entry for the Spring Fling 2021 Kidlit Contest.

Book Review! Brandon Goes to Hong Kong

In Eugenia Chu’s latest book, you don’t just get the delight of a journey to another land. There’s a mystery right away, in the form of a tantalizing flash of red in the air!

Book: Brandon Goes to Hong Kong Xiānggǎng (香港) (out now!) by Eugenia Chu.

Age range: 7-11 years, but adults will enjoy it, too!

Description: While on a trip to Hong Kong, Brandon thinks he sees a great red dragon – but is it real or imaginary? Join Brandon as he tours the city and learns about dragons in this multicultural, multigenerational chapter book which includes some Mandarin Chinese (Simplified) with Pinyin pronunciation throughout, adding educational elements of the Chinese language and culture. Is Brandon the only one who sees the dragon? Can legendary or mythical creatures ever be real? What do you believe?

I received a copy for review.

I love how real this book feels.

A child can get right into what Brandon is experiencing and is excited about. Speaking of which, I also love how Brandon gets so excited about learning Chinese words, there’s a part where he wants to say different greetings all at once!

And you don’t just get the delight of a journey to another land. There’s a mystery right away, in the form of a tantalizing flash of red in the air! This mystery, soon revealed to be the enticing “Could it be a dragon?” follows you throughout the book and appears in many delightful ways.

The author does a superb job of anchoring the reader in the environment Brandon is in while acknowledging that the reader may not know some things, such as time differences and the effect they have on us, and what dialect is. The explanations and asides are both very welcome and non-intrusive, and are easy for a child (or adult!) to retain as they go through the story.

I also appreciated other connections made with Brandon’s life back home, such as the smell of chlorine from the hotel pool reminding him of playing with his friends.

As well, Brandon shows maturity and depth that are good guides for the children reading this story: Empathy, curiosity, relief, respect for his parents and other elders, and compassion. This is balanced out by the dragon mystery that it seems only the children and animals in the book believe in!

The descriptions in this book are marvelous. The author shows a superb command of language to use concise descriptors that set the scenes and fill the imagination. Accompanying illustrations appear at just the right time with the perfect amount of detail that a child can spend time gazing at.

Also, this book made me hungry. I won’t soon forget the delectable descriptions of the food.

The questions at the end of each chapter are outstanding. Thought-provoking and provide a way for solitary readers to dig deeper, or for an older reader to interact with the child.

And perhaps best of all, the author chooses to leave the question of belief up to the reader.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Eugenia Chu is one to watch. Start collecting her books now!

Buy: Brandon Goes to Hong Kong Xiānggǎng (香港)!

Good fortune with #PitMad today!

If you are participating in #PitMad, I hope you have many agent hearts today! We have from 8 a.m. EST to 8 p.m. EST to try.

I started out tweeting all four of my current picture book manuscripts, but I may end up concentrating on just two for the remainder of the day. I am not sure yet.

If you’d like to retweet mine, here they are. Follow me on Twitter and let me know if you’ve got some to retweet as well!