Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5+
Genre: Picture book
What did you like about the book? I absolutely loved so many things about this book–the wonderful story of true friendship, a testament to the importance of being brave, and the collection of creative illustrations. This story begins deep in the jungle of India. A kind monkey named Miss Bandari is known throughout the jungle as having a heart of gold. One day, she is peacefully munching on a delicious plum when along comes an old crocodile named Mr. Magarmach. He is very tired and hungry and is looking for a cool place to rest his old bones. Miss Bandari feels sorry for him and offers him a juicy plum, which he snaps up in one huge bite. Because of her kindness, Mr. Magarmach comes to visit Miss Bandari every day and tells her amazing stories of when he was a young and powerful crocodile. This relationship of eating plums and telling stories continus for some time until one day, Mr. Magarmach asks Miss Bandari if she would like to come to his home for lunch. She is delighted with this offer and happily rides down the river on Mr. Magarmach’s scaly back. As they pass Dame Hati the elephant, she secretly warns Miss Bandari that something is not right and that Mr. Magarmach might be taking her back to his home to offer her as lunch to the King Crocodile. Having lunch and being lunch are two completely different things, and Dame Hati and Miss Bandari come up with a plan that tricks Mr. Magarmach in taking Miss Bandari back to her tree. Once she was safely in her high branch, she scolds him for betraying her and ends their friendship. Mr. Magarmach knows she is right and goes back to his swamp to confront the King Crocodile. King Crocodile is very angry and forces Mr. Magarmach out of the swamp, but Mr. Magarmach did not care because he would never betray his friend. Time passes and Mr. Magarmach is resting under some trees by the riverbed. Miss Bandari sees him and, once again, offers a plum and her friendship. From that moment on, they both live together under the trees–sharing plums and stories of Mr. Magarmach’s bravery against the King Crocodile.
I love the story but the illustrations provided by Reza Dalvand are gorgeous! The best way to describe his illustrations is to take the blurb that was written in the back of the book. “Reza Dalvand’s illustrations are inspired by Indo-Persian traditions. He loves using bright patterns and designs from various cultures, so that his books talk to people from around the world.” There are so many patterns and textures in the illustrations that it simply makes this book a joy to see.
Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing
To whom would you recommend this book? This book would be perfect for children over the age of three. Children who enjoy folktales, especially those from a different culture, would enjoy this story. The lesson in the story and the colors and illustrations remind me of One Grain of Rice, The Empty Pot, and Two of Everything.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, preschools, daycare centers, anyone that works with children age three and older.
Where would you shelve it? Picture book.
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.
Date of review: March 9, 2020