“We share his visions in the illustrations prehistory, alternate turtle evolution, marvels erupting deep in his daydreams.It is an unbridled reverie into a fellow being living in our time. A superb art book designed as a picture book.” Caroline Poppendeck, librarian, NY State Public Library
The Turtles Dream and Keys is a grand tour of life on Earth, and this is precisely why it appeals to children. It nourishes their hunger for learning and curiosity for the world. The book's illustrations complement this mission. Benrali makes great use of each page to deliver captivating scenes that will delight the eager eyes of children and adults alike. Frank Izaguirre-Ecocritic, conservationist, writer-Costa Rica News
“A book that paints a story as we read, but gives us a line that engages deep reflection what if Imagine if Eastern Box turtles became extinct, what patterns would leave the planet?
“As a naturalist and box turtle researcher I find this book to be outstanding! This book transcends all life on planet earth; it flows through time and space all within the long life of a box turtle. ....I was so impressed by the wonderful story and intricate and beautiful artwork in this incredible book that I plan to feature it in the Earthshine Nature Education Center for all to read when they visit Earthshine.” Steve O’Neill-Earthshine Nature Conservatory, North Carolina
“The Turtle's Dream and Keys is a high-concept picturebook that transcends the genre of children's literature; it can easily double as an art book or a gift book for art lovers and adults. Naturalism, dreams and fantasy combine to create a story world where anything is possible.” Summer Edwards- Anansesem Caribbean Children's Magazine
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“Manni's title denotes a world beyond stars, but what this delightful book does best is evoke the magic in our own world….. If you are not already, this book will make you fall in love with the tropical world of sea turtles; if you are, through this book you will come to see its magic in a new way. I've never seen anything that better evokes the precious, enchanted beauty that imbues tropical landscapes and their creatures!”
"Benrali's rich heritage is beautifully infused into both his engaging textual narrative and delightful illustrations. This makes his books not just an ideal read for children, who are fascinated with colors and fantasy, but for adults who appreciate the artful intricacy of his storytelling as well as his imagery." Venessa Deosaran, Journalist, Guyana Times Newspaper
“Manni From a World Beyond the Stars, by Benrali, captivated my senses. In a dreamy and sacred world, the luminous story graces bountiful scenes. A sense of ancient lore permeates the gentle story of a special turtle, born at midnight, in the presence of the moon and the sea. Achromatic wallpaper washes the background, while brilliant pastels spark the story-driving illustrations. I was slow to turn each one, taking in color, form, and seeing moonlight cascading over magical landscapes.” Caroline Poppendeck, Librarian Elmira, New York
“These hardcover picture books are to be savoured and pored over as you luxuriate in the beauty of the pictures on each page. In fact, the first time I leafed through the book, I barely read the text as I was entranced by the incredibly detailed illustrations that fill every inch of every page.”
“ The story and art make up a book that children clearly can enjoy and the prints are of an artistic level that adults can appreciate, too. The entire package, in fact, is quite impressive, printed on high grade paper stock. Jim Parisi Tamarindo News-Costa Rica
“As I read this beautifully illustrated book to my grade 2 and 3 students, I observed that I had their full attention and they were totally engrossed in the story, on the edge of their seats eagerly awaiting the next word, the next sentence, the next page. The children demonstrated perfect reading comprehension by stating that the author's message or the 'big idea' in the story is that of friendship. They cited passages from the book to prove that Oonie helped Manni on his journey back to the sea and Manni helped Oonie escape from the crocodile and the octopus
“The balanced mix of fantasy with science make this compact book interesting for readers. As an environmental educationist, I personally recommend this book a must read for every child to get interest towards nature.”
“This is a story of divine intervention, a lesson that there is guidance from beyond, and as with all living creatures, human beings are guided by spirit as well. The color illustrations are rich in detail and mesmerizing. Manni is an art book destined to become a collectible.”
“The illustrations of marine life are captivating, and the storyline is impressive when you realize it's told poetically within the rules of a ghazal, an Arabic and Indo-Persian form of rhyming couplets. This book is great for adults or children. While adults will find it relaxing and can appreciate the mixture of cultural folklore of the moongazer spirit, poetic prose, and the tranquil colors in the art work, children will enjoy its entertainment that is perfect for bedtime reading.”
“Our attention is drawn to the mystical relationships Manni has with his environment- the moon, sea, beach, trees, and sea creatures all speak to him and help him along his journey…….. This book will encourage children and adults alike to develop a personal bond to nature as they delight in this colorful adventure of a baby sea turtle and his friends.” Dr. Annie Page, Veterinarian and Biologist
"His newest book, When I Found a Moon of Chai has a similar experimental sensibility, but in this case, he plays around with words and imagery in an unusual way. It is a collection of verse, which he likens to a ‘necklace of beads that don’t match but when strung together they work as a collection of surreal worlds, musings, moments of love and adventures that meander without any destination.’
"When I Found a Moon of Chai is imbued with the same passion Benrali has put into his earlier works, and you really get the sense that this was a deeply personal work. Like his previous books, this too demands to be lingered over, and actually does not need to be read start to finish in order. In fact, the greatest pleasure I got from it was going to random pages and savoring the verse in front of me. Perhaps the only thing I would have hoped for is that Benrali would have illustrated the verse in the same way as his previous books. When you see the magnificent cover page, you will see what I mean. I look forward to more from Benrali, particularly as he discovers his poetic style as authoritatively as he has his remarkable artistic style. "
Aleya Kassam-Editor, Journalist, Writer- Awaaz Magazine-Nairobi, Kenya
A Lotus From The Calypso Dawn
Chai fell from the ladel, silt from ancient river,
black pepper overshawdowed clove, nutmeg,
cardamom and even ginger became
meek on my tongue, fresh milk slightly turned.
On the way to Agra the tour bus stopped at a chai seller.
By the roadside there was a marsh;
I found the Lotus beyond a thousand years,
I found the Messiah of the flowers,
I found the purest salt on Earth,
pink salt from the Himalayas,
I found tips of mosques that held the dawn,
I found kings unaware they were kings
swaying with the common typha
towards a padparadascha sun.
I found drops that fell from the calypso dawn
Among the field I found the white sapphire
that turned back from becoming the ruby.