MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER’S GOURD by Cristina Kessler

MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER’S GOURD

Age Range: 5 - 9

KIRKUS REVIEW

Fatima’s Sudanese village is caught between the ways of the past and the present in a story based on a true event in modern East Africa. Before the coming of the dry season, villagers have always stored water in baobob trees called water gourds, but now that a new pump has arrived, they’ve grown complacent and dismiss the old ways. Only Fatima’s grandmother thinks the villagers are foolish for putting their entire faith in this new technology and she follows the time-honored tradition of collecting water. She makes a trench around a baobob tree to collect rain, and with Fatima’s help, pours this water into its trunk bucket by bucket to be stored until needed. When the pump stops working, all of the villagers who have looked upon Fatima and her grandmother with disdain now realize they have judged too soon. Prayers of thanks are quickly said to them and to the tree for its gift of water. It becomes apparent as the grandmother says, “Maybe it’s wise to mix old with new.” Krudop’s lovely oil paintings, usually facing a page of longer-than-usual text, perfectly depict the village scene and its shimmering heat. His characters are portrayed with dabs of paint, yet their features and their personalities come through clearly. Gently making the case for respecting traditions, Kessler (No Condition Is Permanent, 1999, etc.) also teaches a bit about a country not often depicted in children’s picture books. (glossary, author’s note) (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-531-30284-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Orchard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2000




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