Dora the Explorer meets No Reservations in this delicious picture book debut! Follow Kalamata and her alligator sidekick on the first of many exciting food adventures in a charming story about facing fears and overcoming back-to-school jitters.
Grown-ups never seemed to notice, but Kalamata's kitchen table was magical. Under her table, she and Al Dente could transport themselves anywhere....
Tomorrow is Kalamata's first day at a new school, and she's nervous! What if the kids aren't friendly? Or worse, what if they don't like alligators!? If only Kalamata and Al Dente could go to back to the Indian spice market they visited this summer, then maybe she'd remember how to feel brave when new experiences seem scary.
Luckily for Kalamata, all the magic required for her journey is right in her own kitchen! As Kalamata and her alligator friend, Al Dente, transport themselves to a magical land filled with tasty ingredients, she realizes being brave is exciting! And most importantly, she learns that when we're nervous about trying new things, food can comfort us and remind us to stay curious, courageous, and compassionate.
It's the night before brown-skinned Kalamata's first day at a new school, and despite earlier excitement, nervousness now overwhelms. But with the emotional support of her stuffed alligator Al Dente and a little help from her mother Kalamata might be able to revisit the bravery she experienced at an Indian spice market over the summer: "Al wasn't scared to try ANYTHING in the market!... Maybe we should go back!" As Mama opens the spice cabinet and begins cooking, Thomas follows Kalamata's imaginative journey beneath the kitchen table with plenty of transportive sensory details: "There was a sizzle in the distance, and the world blossomed into a deep, dense curry-leaf forest." Edwards illustrates vivid, earth-toned digital spreads with Indian-inflected designs and patterns. This picture book sweetly portrays one child finding comfort in her heritage. Back matter features a recipe for Kalamata's Dal and a brief glossary of ingredients and methods mentioned. Ages 4 8.