MOON-UNCLE, MOON-UNCLE: Rhymes From India by Sylvia & Parvathi Thampi -- Eds. & Trans. Cassedy


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According to the editors' notes these rhymes are the Indian equivalents of Mother Goose, which have ""never before appeared in print, either in their native tongue or in translation,"" and therefore they should be of some interest to folklore enthusiasts. Only a few, however, are likely to strike the fancy of young children. ""A crow from Cochin came to me/ built his house in the banyan tree"" has a musical lilt, and ""There was an old woman/ as I've heard tell,/ who sailed away/ in a walnut shell"" requires no knowledge of Indian culture. On the other hand the verse ""Dry, little patti, dry, dry, dry!"" requires an explanatory footnote (a patti is a slate used in school). Some lines -- such as the question asked the owl: ""Have you a swelling beneath your coat?"" or ""Oh, twinkling stars,/ who was it stole/ the pearls from/ Aunty's jewelry box"" -- don't survive the translation, while a little lesson on ""Disobedience"" (""Father built a sturdy fence,/ mother scrambled out./ Father gave her several whacks;/ Listen to her shout."") won't be a favorite with many moms. A selective adult could make the collection pull its own weight in the nursery, and Suba's sinuous line drawings and wispy pastel watercolors are acceptable despite a certain self-conscious sweetness.

Pub Date: Jan. 5th, 1972
Publisher: Doubleday