“Neypo shong gna? (Is there room for me?)” A string of visitors seeking shelter approach a kind old woman’s tiny house one evening.
As each traveler arrives at the old woman’s door in this tale from Bhutan, she invites them inside and continues to stir her dinner pot. Soon, her little home is squeezed full, and each person receives a bite of stew, enough to ease their hunger. When they marvel at how she has fit so many into such a small house, her reply is a reflection of the spirit of generosity that infuses the Bhutanese culture. The repeated refrain of “Neypo shong gna?” gives the text a nice rhythm, though some passages feel disjointed, as if it were a translation. Tshering’s watercolor illustrations are varied in composition but inconsistent in execution, with some depictions rich in realistic detail and others almost cartoonish. It is also unclear whether this story, originally published in India, is a traditional folktale or an original effort. It represents a culture that is not often seen in children’s literature and imparts an important message of generosity, which mitigates the inconsistencies in both the text and illustrations. Closing notes provide further facts about Bhutan.
A simple and sweet introduction to Bhutanese culture that’s as unvarnished as its protagonist’s home. (Picture book. 4-7)