THE MANIC PANIC
by Richa Jha
Illustrated by Mithila Ananth
ages 4 and up
Some grown-ups have so much screen time that they just can't cope when the wifi goes out. Luckily the grown-ups in Manic Panic live with a smart kid who loves to read and an adventurous grandma who knows how to have fun without the internet. Manic Panic is a wry look at the value of unplugged family time, even when someone is resistant to the real world. The illustrations add depth to the story, helping us to see all the small things we can miss when we're glued to our phones.
What a fun, modern day flip-flop on the parent-kid relationship. . .and one that may be more true than most are willing to admit.
Most evenings, Dad is glued to his cell phone while Mom sits on the couch and pokes at her laptop. When the wifi goes out, Mom and Dad have no idea what to do. Luckily, this kid is ready and drags them out into the world to discover all sorts of marvelous things. The results are simply wonderful.
This is a book which pokes fun of parents, and one kids are sure to enjoy. The opening scene fits many modern day households and leads into a fun, which kids can actually carry out in real life. The flip-flop on responsibility. . .a kid showing it's parents the 'real' world and taking control of the situation while they whine. . .is sure to make young listeners smile. It's inspiring, it's humorous and it does have a message which hits home.
The illustrations pull into the story and add to the tale as much as the words. Younger listeners will enjoy flipping through on their own and get a general gist of the story. The text itself floats along the illustrations, is never too long and makes for a great read-aloud.
Although this book originated in India (something which diverse book fans are sure to love!), the illustrations and text are general enough for young listeners in various countries to easily connect with. Still, a slight flair for India remains, especially when Mom and Dad are lead to the tea stall.
In other words, this is a lovely, picture book which hits home while leaving smiles and even some great ideas behind.
Book Buzz. . .
Selected for ACL Bayviews 'Distinguished' List and called an 'outstanding' book
Selected to appear in May's issue of Scholastic Teacher's Magazine as part of 'top books for Summer'