This flood story is based on a traditional tale told by the Irula people of South India, who, according to the author’s note, view themselves as descendants of the titular Pattan.
Tribal villagers Pattan and his wife, Kanni, live in harmony with nature and the animals, birds, and insects around them. On an “ailing plant” that Pattan rescues and nurtures develops a pumpkin that keeps on growing until “Pattan had to climb on an elephant to see the top of the pumpkin. And still it grew bigger….” When the crashing, lashing rain brings floods, Pattan, with the help of the animals, hollows out the inside of that giant pumpkin and loads into it all the animals, as well as sacks of grain, seeds, and herbs that Kanni has filled. It rains and rains for “many a day and night,” and the enormous pumpkin bobs along until one sunny day, it comes to rest safely on the plains. Author Soundar’s simple text is set in typography that varies from time to time, some words set in boldface type, some words in all uppercase letters, in what seems to be an inconsistent and somewhat unnecessary emphasis. Colorful, authentic-feeling, and vibrant illustrations look similar to traditional Indian folk art and carry the story. Although this accessible story is not religious and stands on its own, it is comparable to flood stories in the Sumerian, Mesopotamian, and Judeo-Christian cultures.
A whimsical traditional flood story for comparative-religion shelves. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)