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Grandma and the Great Gourd: A Bengali Folktaleby Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Synopses & Reviews
Once upon a time, in a little village in India, there lived an old woman. Everyone in the village called her Grandma. One day, Grandma received a letter from her daughter, who lived on the other side of the jungle. "Please come and visit me," said the letter. "I haven't seen you in so long. I miss you."
And so, Grandma begins a perilous journey to the far side of the jungle. Can she use her keen wit to escape the jungle animals and make it safely home?
Chitra Divakaruni's sharp, rhythmic retelling of this Bengali folktale is complimented perfectly by Susy Pilgrim Waters's brightly colored, captivating illustrations.
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2013
"Little Red Riding Hood has only a wolf to contend with, but Grandma lives in India, where the forest hides a fox, a bear, and a tiger. Grandma talks the three predators out of eating her during her first trip ('I'll be a lot fatter on my way back from my daughter's house because she's such a good cook'), but she has to innovate on her way back. Grandma rolls herself home in a giant gourd, singing cheerfully, until she meets the attentive fox: 'One hundred and one times I've sneaked into villages to steal chickens, but I've never seen a singing gourd!' he exclaims. Although Divakaruni's (The Conch Bearer) retelling starts slow, it soon gathers momentum. Like '50s textile patterns, debut illustrator Waters's silkscreenlike spreads render Grandma and the jungle creatures as two-dimensional cutouts; bold, stylized silhouettes of plant and tree motifs play off one another like dense jungle shadows. Grandma's witty resourcefulness and the opportunity to compare cross-cultural story traditions make this a useful resource and a good readaloud. Ages 5 — 8. Author's agent: Sandra Dijkstra, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. Illustrator's agent: Lilla Rogers Studio." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Chitra Divakaruni's first book in the Brotherhood of the Conch series, The Conch Bearer, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, and a Booklist Editors' Choice. She currently lives in Texas.
Susy Pilgrim Waters is an illustrator, designer, and painter. Susy lives in Boston with her husband, Keith, their dog, Tillie, two cats, and two bunnies. They have two grown children.
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