A whimsical traditional flood story for comparative-religion shelves.

PATTAN'S PUMPKIN

AN INDIAN FLOOD STORY

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)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9274-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.

ONE LOVE

A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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