Cover Image: Asha and the Toymaker

Asha and the Toymaker

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Member Reviews

What a lovely tale of finding joy in all the things big and small. The art and story were both so sweet
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What a heartwarming tale. In this little adventure Asha is a little girl who is growing up in India where she lives with her Papa, the toymaker. He sells his toys in the market as best he can to provide for them. Asha wants to help him and use her love of painting to paint the toys so they will sell better. Papa wants her to focus on learning so she can have more than he had. It is a great story about how families help each other and believe in each other. This is an enduring tale that your little ones will love. We enjoyed learning about other cultures and how other little ones live. Your family will enjoy this well written tale along with colorful illustrations that complete the story.
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Book Review: Asha and the Toymaker
Author : Sakshi Mangal
Rating: 4*

Little Asha helps Dad sell his handcrafted toys by painting them without his knowledge.

It's interesting that the author is also the illustrator. 

The illustrations are colorful but in tasteful, muted shades and not overly jarring. I appreciated the little touches that are a giveaway to life in Rajasthan: saffron flowers hanging over the doorway, turbans, moustaches, street vendors, snoozing cats, recurring elephant motifs, earthen pots to store water.

This book will allow kids to build their vocabulary, story-telling and observation skills by describing the countless events happening in the background in each illustration. In fact, there are pages which contain no text at all — nice touch. 

I did note that the setting is that of an India untouched by globalization perhaps the 70s or 80s, and everyone (male or female, young and old) are shown wearing traditional attire.

I see there are objections to the fact that the girl takes it upon herself to paint her Dad's toys without him knowing, and some parents might not want their kids taking home the wrong lesson. But the story makes it clear from the start that the girl lives alone with her father, there seems to be no mother-figure, and she worries about her father starving himself so as to provide for her education, even as he returns home at night selling no toys at times. This scene is beautifully illustrated.

Although Dad is initially upset, he realizes the girl was right when the painted toys start selling. The book makes it clear that Asha joins him at the market only after her homework is done.

Finally, it would have been nice if "Rajasthan", "Jodhpur" and/or "Blue City of India" was mentioned within the story itself in Asha's own words. Buildings are seen pre-dominantly in blue on some pages. The blue could have been more striking and vivid so as to underscore the "Blue City of India" theme

I liked this book.
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Colorful and beautiful  story!
This delightful book about Asha and her toy maker Father. Somedays, his father succeeds in selling his toys. Other days, he would not sell a single toy. Asha believes that her love for painting can help contribute more sales in his business.
A wonderful story that teaches us that the strokes of talent, encouragement,  and being hopeful can help you succeed.
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I received an electronic ARC from Kids Can Press through NetGalley.
Beautifully illustrated story of a young girl, Asha, who loves to paint. Her papa makes and sells wooden toys so she can go to school and they can survive. She realizes that her papa goes without so she can eat and learn. Asha realizes that she can help Papa with his toys by painting them and making them more colorful. Readers see her papa finally accept this help and both realize they can work together and improve both their lives.
A powerful message of life in an urban area of India. Readers will connect with the struggles and commitment to improving life.
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**Thank you to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for this ARC in exchange for an honest review**

Asha lives with her papa in India. He sells wooden toys at the market, but oftentimes it is not enough to make ends meet, so he chooses to go hungry making sure that she has enough to eat. Asha sees his struggles and just wants to help, so she decides to paint all of the toys for him one day. At first, papa is upset because he wants her to have the educational opportunities and life that he didn't get, and warns her to keep her priorities straight. However, once he realizes how much better the painted toys sell, he admits he was wrong and accepts her artistic help indefinitely. 

Sometimes it is hard for children to see that their parents just want to give them the best life possible. They care, and they want them to succeed. Sometimes that means giving them a push in the right direction in order to stay on track. Parents have already been through it, and can offer wisdom from their experiences.
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I have mixed emotions about this children's book. My rating is 2.5 stars.

Let me start off with the positives - I love books that help teach us about other cultures and ethnicities. I liked that it showed a side of life that many American kids don't have to struggle with - whether or not you're going to get an education. In this story, Asha's father sells toys so he can give her an education and better life than he had. Being married into an Indian family, I was especially excited to read this one. I think the illustrations are beautiful and bright. And I liked the overall theme of the book - <i>"A timeless tale of the power of art and being brave enough to share your gifts"</i> (as written by the author).

Here is my big problem with this story - there is a scene where Asha directly ignores her Papa's directions and instructions. Instead of doing what he asked of her, which was to study and do her homework, she decides to paint all of his toys after he told her not to. While in the end everything works out for the best, I feel this is sending the wrong message to young children - you can defy your parents and do whatever you want. I believe there were other ways this ending could have been written to still show the author's overall message without damaging the basic rules of parenting. 

I purposely did not read this book with my son, which is a shame because he is half Indian and I love for him to read books about his culture. I chose not to because of my reasons above on the wrong message it sends. 

With the right editing, the bones are there for this to have been a great book with a great message for kids. But it missed the mark. 

My thanks to Sakshi Mangal, Kids Can Press and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This is cute! I love that Asha believes in herself and doesn’t let her Papa discourage her! I loved that she was able to convince her Papa that she can follow her dreams when he was trying to stead her away from them.
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How can I not love this book?! 

The representation is so well done! For someone who keeps observing people who tries to sell toys everyday in the country, I can totally feel the story word for word. 

I love how cute the writing is and how accurate the illustrations are. 

It is the story of a little girl whose father makes wooden toys trying his best to keep the family afloat. 

When I see the toys, there’s so much nostalgia! You are the best author/artist.

Thank you, Kids Can Press, for the advance reading copy.
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A great cultural book showing the culture of India and how work a toy maker works to create his art and sell it in order to send the little girl to school so she can get an education.
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This is a colorful children's book set in the blue city that shows different traditional toys and traditional clothes etc. Asha, the young girl helps her dad out by painting his toys when they don't sell - the story is cute but very simplistic and does not really address why the child went against what the father said and skipped her homework etc.

I received this ebook from Netgalley, all opinions my own
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Asha’s father sells hand crafted wooden toys in order to pay for her to go to school, however he is worried as hasn’t been able to sell as much as he wants to. Asha wants to help her father despite him wanting her to focus on her studies instead. She sneaks into his workshop and uses her paints to decorate his toys so that they are more beautiful than the other toys in the marketplace. At first her father is upset with her, however children soon surround him trying to buy the beautiful toys. He then asks Asha to paint all his toys from now on, as long as her homework is done.

I liked getting a chance to see more of Indian culture through this book, the art is very cute though not my favourite kind of style. We see a range of handcrafted toys such as cars, rocking horses, damaru, lakdi ki kathi, and dolls. There is a diverse range of characters in the artwork, different ages, ethnicities, and abilities. The Blue City is a gorgeous backdrop to this story. I liked the story overall, however I don’t quite love the messages it gives to young children. The idea of utilising your skills to help others is great, however I think her choosing to ignore her father’s wishes and go and paint on his creations in his studio was a poor choice. While reading with a child an adult would need to be talking about making the right choices throughout in order to combat this. Some children would potentially take the message the wrong way and choose to ruin other peoples creations because they thought their idea was better. This might’ve been better if Asha had proposed her idea to her father that he agreed, or she would have convinced him otherwise, rather than go against his wishes.

AGE: 5+
GENRE: Children’s Fiction, Art, Family, 
DETAILS: 40 Pages, Picture Book
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I received an advanced copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 
India is a vibrant country of colors, cultures, and foods. For Asha, going to school means everything for her father. But her father, the local toymaker, starts losing buyers for the toys it's up to Asha to come up with something creative. During the night, she paints the toys into fantastical things. Will her father be angry or surprised and happy? 
I loved the father-and-daughter relationship between them, too. Asha loves coloring and painting, and I liked how all the toys became a marvel of colors for the local children. A quick and enjoyable picture book read.
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Asha’s Dad makes wonderful toys to sell in the market but always returns home without selling one. Little Asha was disappointed her Dad was struggling to get his toys sold. She wanted to help and came up with a great idea.
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Sure thing! 🎨 "Asha and the toymaker" is an adorable children's book that follows the creative journey of a young Indian girl named Asha. With vibrant illustrations and a heartwarming storyline, it's a delightful read for little ones who are budding artists or just love to explore their imagination. Join Asha as she splashes colors onto her toys, inspiring kids to embrace their own artistic passions. A truly charming and inspiring tale!" 📚🌈
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I love a couple of different things about this book: 
- the father admits to the little girl when he was wrong. I think it's important for adults to acknowledge when they make mistakes and for children to see this in a book is great
- the story shows a life/culture that might be outside of what kids reading this will know which I also think is great
- the colors and illustrations are beautiful and I love that they use art/creativity to make a living
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Asha and the Toymaker by Sakshi Mangal

Asha lives in the Blue City of India, Jodhpur, with her father, a toymaker. He crafts and sells wooden toys to fund Asha's education. However, he struggles to find buyers for his intricate toys, risking Asha's schooling. 

Asha and the Toymaker explores the importance of art and education, the significance of preserving traditional art forms, and the sacrifices parents make for their children's education.

Discussion Questions:
Why do you think Asha's papa struggles to sell his toys?
How does the story show the importance of education?
What does the story tell us about the value of art?
How might Asha's life be different without her education?
Why do you think preserving traditional art forms like the toymaking in the story is important?
Can you think of ways Asha and her papa could find more buyers for the toys?
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Thank you to NetGalley, along with the publisher for the eARC. This is an adorable story that shows the appreciation for the arts- especially color! I like how the book took place in India too- gives readers the chance to experience what life is like when living in India.
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Asha and the Toymaker is the beautifully illustrated story of Asha, a young girl who lives in India with her Papa. Her papa is the best wooden toy maker in India. Asha loves to paint, but her father wants her to focus on studying, since he didn't have the opportunity when he was younger. He wants a better life for his daughter.

Papa is having trouble selling his toys at market, though. One night, Asha decides that he will sell more if the toys are colorful and bright, so she sneaks into his workshop one night to paint them all. Then he sells them all, because the children love color!

This is a wonderful book for kids to see the value of creativity and art in the world. All too often, we focus on other things and lose sight of the creative arts. Asha and the Toymaker reminds us that we need beauty in the world, too!

Thanks Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this eARC in exchange for my honest review on the book!
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What a delightful book.  I think the artwork and the setting are eye catching.  The story is simple but has a great lesson.  The daughter wants to help her father but he resisists adding color to the wooden toys.  He ends up having charming toys which help him sell them.  I also think this story has a wonderful lesson for fathers and daughters.  The book does not mention a mother.  I think this would be a wonderful addition to a children's library. 
 Thank you Netgalley.
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