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by Dee Lillegard & illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: April 13th, 1998
ISBN: 0-399-22778-4
Publisher: Putnam

If, as defined by the author, to poombah is to infuse something with extraordinary energy, then consider Lillegard (Tortoise Brings the Mail, 1997, etc.) endowed with such powers. When the Poombah of Badoombah works his magic in an Indian marketplace, pots leap from the clay, carpets fly from the loom, the drummer’s mridanga booms, and the spices zoom. With one ultimate stroke of silliness, the turbanned, bespectacled Poombah topples a nabob from his howdah atop an elephant, for which he’s run out of town. What’s a Poombah to do, banished to the countryside? Grow Badoombah beans, of course, which contain all the magic one needs for a one-man hullabaloo. Lillegard’s fantasy is full of beans in the best sense; she works wonders with wordplay and internal rhyme, sending “a pudgy rajah swirling to the public bath” and “a nervous dervish whirling down a curvish path.” Extending the merrymaking is Hawkes, stepping in with his penchant for exaggeration: Pop-eyed people and animals are sent flying, tapestries soar, and jugs sail, until hens land on heads and watermelons become hats. The timing of the ending is ideal, cutting short the giddiness with the turn of the page, and leaving readers wishing for another visit to Badoombah. (Picture book. 4-8)