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Finders Keepers? A True Story in India Reviewed By Carolyn Warren of Bookpleasures.com
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Carolyn Warren
Reviewer Carolyn Warren: Carolyn is the author of Mortgage Rip-Offs and Money Savers, an Amazon bestseller and Book of the Month pick for The Washington Post (8/08). She also writes for the Christian market. Praying Through Your Pregnancy was a finalist in the 2010 ECOA Book Awards. She enjoys reading nonfiction, literary fiction, and women's mainstream novels. Follow Here To Find Out More About Carolyn and Here.


 
By Carolyn Warren
Published on December 27, 2012
 

Author: Robert Arnett

Illustrator: Smita Turakhia

ISBN: 978-0-96-529008-1



Author: Robert Arnett

Illustrator: Smita Turakhia

ISBN: 978-0-96-529008-1

Finders Keepers? A True Story in India is a refreshing change from the bulk of children’s books that fail to present a moral or even a solid point as a take-away. By contrast, Robert Arnett has presented an interesting, educational story that delivers an important, character-building message about honesty and doing what’s right.

The narrative opens with the author riding on a crowded bus over a bumpy road to Mt. Abu, located near the northwest coast of India. Men, boys, and luggage are piled on top of the bus, because it’s filled to capacity with families. Inside, the passengers are so friendly—even sharing food and passing around babies to strangers—that they quickly become like one big, traveling family. The author is surprised to see that when a man takes off his turban, on top of his head sets a bag lunch. From a walled fort to roosting bats in trees, the journey is interesting, indeed. 

The main plot point occurs when an Indian boy taps on Arnett’s elbow to get his attention, then holds out the wallet he lost while shopping. As many Americans would do, Arnett opens his wallet, withdraws some cash, and offers it to the boy as a reward for his honesty. This is when the boy delivers his second surprise: he refuses the reward. Thinking the boy must not understand his intentions, Arnett finds someone to translate. But the result is that the lad simply doesn’t understand why he should be rewarded for honesty—for doing the right thing—and again, he declines the money.

This presents an opportunity for parents, educators, and other adults to have a meaningful discussion with children on what makes good character. At the end of the book is a short section called, “Food For Thought,” which presents good conversation starters. In addition, there are facts about India. 

I appreciate that the author provides the definition and pronunciation to each Indian word used, right within the text. I equally appreciate the maps drawn by the illustrator.

Author Robert Arnett is an internationally acclaimed author. Finders Keepers? is the winner of multiple book awards, including Mom’s Choice Best Educational Picture Book, and it was one of the Independent Publisher Outstanding Books of the Year. 

Illustrator Smita Turakhia has enhanced the book with beautiful paintings for each page. Her attention to authentic detail and use of brilliant color adds to the educational value and interest. Each page is a visual delight.

Personally, I would love to see the author have fun with interesting action verbs. For example, instead of “going up” the path, maybe he climbed or trudged or wandered. I also couldn’t help but notice the excessive number of helping verbs that could have been eliminated to tighten up the writing. Nevertheless, this does not hinder the value of the story. 

Finders Keepers? is also available in Spanish. Because of the international theme of the book, the Spanish edition would make a good gift for those in Spanish-speaking countries as well as the United States.

Young children will enjoy having this book read to them, while older ones will like reading it for themselves. Even though it is a picture book, adults may find it enjoyable as well.

 

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