“Tancho smiled. He liked his new name, and it made him happy to know that his fearless brother thought he was brave.”
Banda’s Charlie the Fearless and Tancho the Brave is an imaginative and remarkable tale concerning acceptance and the strength that comes with having a strong support system. As Charlie and Tancho go out on their adventures, Tancho sees how brave Charlie is in comparison to him. But when Charlie is in trouble and needs a helping hand, Tancho learns how bravery can come when you least expect it. A lovely story for all children to explore, this exquisite picture book is something for the whole family to love and share.
Title: Charlie the Fearless and Tancho the Brave
Series: The Adventures of Tancho and Charlie, Book One
Author: Suhmayah Banda
Illustrator: Sarah-Leigh Wills
Links: Amazon CA | Book Depository | Goodreads
Age Group & Genre(s): Children’s Literature, Picture Book
Point of View: Third Person
Publisher: Suhmayah Banda
Publication Date: 2018
Meet Tancho and Charlie, two brothers living a life of adventure and learning. Charlie, the younger of the two is fearless and likes to tease his elder brother, Tancho, for being timid. However, through a series of events he discovers how courageous his big brother really is when it counts and realizes that part of his fearlessness comes from knowing his brother is there to support him.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review; thank you for the opportunity to read and review this novel. This in no way sways my review or opinion of the novel.
Thank you Suhmayah for allowing me the privilege of reading your beautiful children’s novel; I am absolutely thrilled about this beautiful series. When Suhmayah asked me to review his novel, he provided an addition note regarding the reason for writing this series — to provide his children and other individuals who are a part of a minority ethnic group a message that shows their potential and that they’re not alone, especially in a world where mainstream main characters are primarily Caucasian individuals. After reading such a beautiful and powerful compilation of reasons for the creation of this series, I had to accept his request — and I’m very glad I did.
Charlie the Fearless and Tancho the Brave provides a positive learning experience for children and adults alike, highlighting on positive and uplifting morals that we all should live by. Charlie and Tancho have their own character growth stories throughout the plot, learning to love one another for who they are and provide a positive atmosphere for one another. Though Tancho’s not as dauntless, he learns to conquer his fears when Charlie needs his help. And while Charlie’s rather courageous in comparison to his older brother, he still provides a warm atmosphere for Tancho as he applauds Tancho’s brave acts of heroism. From family bonding to providing support systems, Banda’s story exemplifies a number of admirable morals for children to learn … and maybe adults too.
The story explores diversity through bi-racial main characters, something that’s sorely missed out in literature today. Mainstream entertainment is still a largely white (Caucasian) demographic, with ethnic minorities still being seen as secondary or not present at all. Charlie the Fearless and Tancho the Brave provides a change, with Charlie and Tancho being two bi-racial siblings exploring the world through their every day adventures. With a Caucasian mom and Black African dad, the story includes a large amount of diversity — and in less than 30 pages! Banda’s beautiful story tells all the other individuals who are a part of an ethnic minority group that they’re also the heroes in stories … that their voices are heard. This lack of diversity in entertainment NEEDS to stop, and this wonderful story is a great place to start.
The illustrations are lovely and charming, drawing readers in further. Though they’re professionally done and are remarkable, I truly love the illustrators attentiveness to maintaining a childlike quality in the drawings. They’re colourful and simplistic yet look as though they were coloured in with marker like a colouring book (… accept a lot better) … giving off almost a Robert Munsch vibe.
Though the story’s beautiful, the narration and content was rather repetitive. As the story follows Charlie and Tancho’s adventures, Banda uses the same scenarios but in a future context and with different outcomes to indicate the character growth. Though this is a common practice in Children’s Literature, I prefer a novel that shows the characters change by finding a new obstacle for them to face but with a more positive outcome; this is seen particularly in works by Dr. Seuss and Robert Munsch. The dialogue use is also repetitious as Banda uses similar phrasing yet slightly alters it as the story progresses, making the content a tad underwhelming.
Banda’s Charlie the Fearless and Tancho the Brave is a splendid read, something that I would read my own children (… if I had any). The morals are exemplary, the characters are lovable, the story is easily relatable for children to follow, and the inclusion of bi-racial main characters adds novelty and freshness in the realm of Children’s literature. Not only would I recommend this for all parents, but I would highly recommend this novel to educators who wish to liven up their library collection.