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Reviewed by Kristine Zimmerman for Readers' Favorite
Neela's Reflection by Ariel Zylberberg is about a little blue firefly. Neela is frustrated and full of self-doubt. Whatever she seems to try doesn't quite work or measure up in her eyes. She feels like all the other fireflies are more unusual or accomplished than she is. Three little fireflies come to cheer her up and invite her to join them. It doesn't go as planned, and Neela is again by herself. Suddenly a wild storm sweeps in and Neela hears Daniel, one of the other fireflies, screaming for help. What can Neela do? Does she have the courage to rescue Daniel herself and will it work?
Neela's Reflection is a beautifully crafted story. Ariel Zylberberg's rhymes flow effortlessly and make it a joy to read aloud. Like many children, Neela sometimes feels as if she fails at everything. Through Neela, Zylberberg highlights the power of resilience and believing in yourself. Each of the fireflies is unique and shines with its colorful light. The illustrations by Eduardo Paj capture this perfectly. The fireflies are distinctive and glow in yellow, green, orange, and blue. The soft nighttime pictures radiate warmth and light. They are beautiful. Fireflies are magical and fairylike. I was unaware of the existence of blue fireflies until I read the information at the end of the story. Kids will be drawn to Neela and the other fireflies and feel empowered to find their particular gifts. This is the perfect story to read on a warm summer night surrounded by blinking fireflies.