Review By KRISTIN WALD
A relevant picture book for our times, Little Sid is a retelling of how a prince, Siddhartha, became Buddha. While not historically accurate, the story maintains the concepts and spirit of lessons to be learned in a style that will entice young readers. The modern twist (stuffed animals! casual diction!) will make the story of how Siddhartha became Buddha accessible to a whole new generation of children, many of whom will relate to the family dynamic described.
I found the telling interesting and direct without being overly childish. Little Sid is distraught to find that the possessions and activities his parents seem to value don’t provide contentment. Like many caregivers today, Little Sid’s parents are distracted and focused on getting “things” done, and when they notice that their son is unhappy, they order him entertained or showered in toys. The material things don’t help.
Thus, Little Sid learns early on that money can’t buy happiness, and he goes off on his own to find Happiness with a capital H. In his journeys, he finds some mysterious guides who only confuse him, and he even thinks some of their advice is “the dumbest thing he’d ever heard.” And then he sits with the advice for a while and wonders if it was in fact the wisest.
It is an encounter with a fierce tiger that shocks Little Sid into a discovery of how being fully present brings appreciation and Happiness. The rest of the story takes us back to Little Sid’s village and home to see how he spreads this knowledge to everyone, including his family.
The illustrations are dreamlike and beautiful. The layered imagery creates a focus for each page, and the simple shapes convey great emotion without cluttering the landscape. For younger children, the illustrations encourage interaction to identify emotions, colors, and more.
Recommended for ages 4-8.
I received a review copy from the publisher.