A playful take on a familiar cautionary tale is enlivened by Subcontinental flair.

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THE RUMOR

A multicultural—and universal—lesson on the dangers of gossip.

In the tiny village of Baddbaddpur, India, lived a grumpy man named Pandurang. He scowled and grumbled so much that no one ever wanted to be near him. But one day he had a coughing fit and, to his surprise, coughed up a feather. He told his wife, but urged her not to tell anyone else. However, she could not resist and told her neighbor about the strange occurrence. But in her version, he not only coughed up a feather, but the entire bird! The story is then passed from one person to the next, becoming more and more exaggerated with each telling. In the end, poor Pandurang has an entire forest growing from his mouth. Every time the rumor is told, Ravishankar uses humorous verse to add to the incredulity: “A tree grew inside Pandu’s mouth— / It grew and grew and grew and grew! / And on that tree, there came to nest / A flock of birds, full sixty-two!” The warm, jewel-toned illustrations play with perspective, growing Pandu’s face larger and larger as the rumor gets bigger, until trees sprout from his molars and animals of all kinds spring from his wide, open mouth.

A playful take on a familiar cautionary tale is enlivened by Subcontinental flair. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 8, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-77049-280-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tundra

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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