Title: Little One, You are the Universe
Author: Zeni Shariff
Release Date: November 2nd 2020
Length: 40 pages
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Publisher: Bublish, Inc
While crossing the Yamuna River in their home of Northern India, elephants Lotus and Adia are separated from each other and captured by humans. Lotus was sent to Tanzania in East Africa to work on the railways. Adia was sent to the Ashantee Forest in West Africa to carry heavy loads for the miners.
One day, they were put on separate ships bound for Canada because people were poaching elephants for their tusks, and it was not safe for them in Africa. It is once they arrive in Canada that Lotus and Adia are reunited at a watermelon party. With the two elephant families together again, they plan for one more trip to the warmer climate in Point Pelee, Canada. Join Lotus and Adia on their journey!
**** My Review ****
True friendship is like a gem, a real rarity, but also something that lasts forever. The idea of Little One, You are the Universe is really cute and sweet and enough to interest us as parents, as well as our little ones.
The little elephants, named Lotus and Adia do not forget each other even after years in captivity, or after everything, they go through. They remember each other and their wonderful friendship.
But I’m not sure if the realization of the idea is something that excites me. Empathy for wildlife should indeed be developed from an early age, and it is a great idea to introduce children to the details of wildlife, their vulnerability, and their value to society. But somehow poaching and labor camp for elephants are topics that I would leave for later, at a time when the child will be emotionally mature enough to understand the severity and consequences of those actions. Definitely not in this moment when my son is only 3.
The choice of language structures, although quite picturesque and varied, is somehow not suitable for a picture book, too much text and a bad choice of font greatly diminish the appeal of the picture book. It must be admitted that this picture book offers some great ideas with which we could encourage our little ones to talk and think, such as friendship, where the animals come from, the zoo, the habitats of different animals…
****About the Author****
Author and artist Zeni Shariff has completed her education at The Aga Khan Girls’ Secondary School in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and at Ryerson in Toronto, Canada. She continues to be a life-long learner. She loves to read and share stories from her late grandparents’ and late parents’ journeys. She was inspired by their experiences as they moved from continent to continent. If she learned one thing from these stories, it was to be decent to all of humanity and never give up hope.