Jha, Richa. Manic Panic, The. Mithila Ananth, Illus. Picture Book. Creston, 05/2018. pp. $16.99. 978-1-939547-43-9. OUTSTANDING. GRADES K-3.
The unthinkable has happened—the Internet and Wi-Fi have gone down! A young girl and her Nana are not troubled by this—they have plenty of ideas that don’t involve technology. However, the girl’s parents are devastated, they whine and grumble and fret. When convinced to go on an outing, the girl’s family has a lovely time playing soccer, riding bicycles, and relaxing in the park. The surprise ending explains why the Wi-Fi is still down after dinnertime. The family is Indian, and the colorful illustrations, depicting an extended family wearing modern Indian garb, appear to be computer-generated. Charming and full of little bits of humor (for example, the father cooking and burning food because he is fretting about the Wi-Fi not working; the girl literally dragging her parents outside; bird droppings landing on the father’s bicycle helmet and the entire family laughing about it together). This hilarious and timely story will resonate with all families having access to the Internet, regardless of country or culture. A downloadable curriculum guide, which includes Common Core State Standards, is available through the Creston website. Originally published in English by Pickle Yolk Books in India (verso). Kathy L. Haug, Independent