CM . . . .
Volume VII Number 20 . . . . June 8, 2001
Golden potato fritters smiled at me. Bhajias! I shoved the bag into the darkness of my jacket pocket. Mom was out of town, so Grandma had made my lunch. I loved bhajias, but I was afraid to eat them in front of my friends. I was sure none of them had ever seen bhajias before.Shaira is reluctant to show her friends the traditional Indian food in her lunch. She is worried her peers might laugh at the bhajias or kababs in her lunch bag. In order to avoid revealing the contents of her lunch, Shaira fabricates excuses to leave the lunchroom. She takes her lunch bag and hurries out to the playground where she buries her uneaten food in the snow and pretends that she is a pirate burying treasure. When the warm winds of a Chinook blow in and melt the snow, the other children discover one of Shaira's buried treasures. They question her about the mysterious food since she often disappears at lunch time. Michael, one of her friends asks, "What is your secret lunch today?" Shaira hesitantly shares her samosas with him. "Delicious!" is the verdict and suddenly all of Shaira's friends want to try some of the triangular pastry!
Cathcart's brightly bordered watercolour illustrations are on the right-hand side of each double-page spread. The details in the illustrations and the facial expressions of the characters extend the story. Shaira's actions are believable, and the story communicates several messages about friendship and cultural diversity.
Dr. Sylvia Pantaleo is a Language Arts Professor in the Faculty of Education, Queens University.
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