Pattan’s Pumpkin: A Traditional Flood Story from Southern India – by Chitra Soundar, illustrated by Frané Lessac, Candlewick Press, (9780763692742), 2017.
Format: Hardcover Picture Book
Rating: 1-5: (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
What did you like about the book? When flood waters threaten to wash out his peaceful valley, Pattan, a farmer, climbs into an enormous pumpkin he grew, and with the help of local animals, hollows it out enough to float himself, his wife, and the small community of plants and animals that share their homestead to safety. Pattan’s kind-hearted personality is revealed by the way he tends the sickly pumpkin vine, shares the fruits of his land with the animals around him, and leaves no one behind when the flood comes. Illustrations showing the smiling Pattan, his wife, and their contented-looking animals are rendered in vivid hues of blue, aquamarine, orange, brown and green. An author’s note explains that this story is a modified version of a traditional tale she first read in her native country of India that featured a giant gourd instead of a pumpkin.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Readers may be left with questions. For instance, if the pumpkin floated for days, doesn’t the survivors’ trek back to their valley merit some description? Also, why would Pattan only save one seed from such a wondrous pumpkin?
To whom would you recommend this book? Recommended for reading aloud for fairy tale/myth units for grades 2 – 4.
Who should buy this book? Elementary school libraries and public libraries.
Where would you shelve it? Shelve with Picture Books.
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA
Date of review: 8/17/17