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Grandma and the Great Gourd: A Bengali Folktale
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Grandma and the Great Gourd: A Bengali Folktale

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  165 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Once upon a time, in a little village in India, there lived an old woman. Everyone in the village called her Grandma. One day, Grandma received a letter from her daughter, who lived on the other side of the jungle. "Please come and visit me," said the letter. "I haven't seen you in so long. I miss you."

And so, Grandma begins a perilous journey to the far side of the jungle
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Roaring Brook Press
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Sep 19, 2012 Tasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This picture book is a retelling of a Bengali folktale. Grandma was invited by her daughter to visit her on the other side of the jungle. Before Grandma traveled there, she left the responsibility for her garden and home with her two loyal dogs. On her way across the jungle, Grandma met a series of hungry animals: a fox, a bear and a tiger. To each, she explained that she is very thin now, but will be plumper when she returns from seeing her daughter, so they let her go. Grandma had a good time ...more
Dec 13, 2016 Literary rated it it was amazing
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's book isn't just beautiful it is also extremely relevant. It bring more visibility to South Asian culture it also shows that grandmothers, no matter their age, can be full of life, mirth, spunk and tenacity. We loved this book so much that we made a children's app based on it.
Not only does the app include the book's beautiful storytelling, and illustrations, but this South Asian Folk Tale takes on new life with the magic that only a children's app can offer. It has g
Heather Gunnell
Staff Pick

See how this Grandma outwits the many hungry animals in the jungle in this fun Bengali folktale. The illustrations are vibrant and colorful.
Sam Smerbeck
Title: Grandma and the Great Gourd
Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Illustrator: Susy Pilgrim Waters
Genre: Bengali Folktale
Theme(s): Overcoming challenges, trickery, family
Opening Line/Sentence:
Once upon a time, in a little village in India, there lived an old woman whom everyone called Grandma. She loved gardening and had the best vegetable patch in the village.
Brief Book Summary:
A woman who everyone called Grandma goes through a perilous jungle to visit her daughter. On the way she is encounte
Megan Gallagher
Nov 06, 2016 Megan Gallagher rated it it was ok
Title:Grandma and the Great Gourd:
Author: Retold by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Illustrator (if separate from author): Susy Pilgrim Waters
Genre: Non-European
Theme(s): Trickery, Cleverness, Adventure, Loyalty, India, Animals, Death, Fantasy ( Talking-Animals), Family
Opening line/sentence : Once upon a time, in a little village in India, there lived an older woman whom everyone called Grandma.
Brief Book Summary : This story is about a Grandmother traveling to her daughter’s house through the woods.
Alex Baugh
Jun 17, 2013 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it
Shelves: randomly-reading
Grandma and her daughter are separated by a jungle. One day, Grandma receives a letter from her daughter saying she misses her mother and could she come for a visit. Grandma decides to go even though walking through the jungle scares her. She leaves her two dogs Kalu and Bhulu in charge of things at home, but they tell her if she needs help to just call for them.

So Grandma sets off through the jungle to visit her daughter. On the way, she meets a fox who wants to eat her. Quick thinking Grandma
Divakaruni is a renowned poet and storyteller. The text is rhythmic and precise, touched here and there with sound effects that make the story a lively and textured telling. Then there is the repetition in phrases, so politely spoken. The folktale is a delightful tale of wit, and adventure: “Grandma missed her daughter, too, and decided to visit her. She was a little scared about traveling through the jungle where so many fierce animals lived. But then she said, 'What’s life without a little adv ...more
Megan Mandl
Apr 14, 2015 Megan Mandl rated it it was amazing
Shelves: folk-literature
Personal Response: I loved reading this book because of the bright splashes of color that made up the illustrations. They were very unique and I have not seen anything that really looks like them. I also liked the repetition; it would make it possible for the class to participate in the story by saying the repetitions with the teacher.

- ages 4-7
Read Aloud for Curricular Purposes:
- This book would be a great addition to a unit on folk tales, because it has a lot of attributes of a ty
May 11, 2014 Jill rated it really liked it
This beautifully illustrated story is a retelling of a Bengali folktale. Grandma lives in a little village in India, and decides to leave her two loyal dogs behind and go visit her daughter, who lives on the other side of the jungle. She sets out alone, and uses her wits to survive encounters with a fox, a bear, and a tiger.

She explains to these would-be prey that she is too thin for them, and if they wait till she comes home, she will be fatter and taste better. After a wonderful visit with he
Kathryn Anne
Grandma and the Great Gourd by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and Susy Pilgrim Waters is a fun Bengali folklore story with elements familiar to Little Red Riding Hood. Grandma lives near the edge of the forest where scary animals are known to roam. She risks the journey through the forest one day to make a trip to her daughter’s house. Before Grandma leaves, she leaves the care of her garden to her two dogs. Along the way, she encounters several animals who try to eat her. She convinces them that sh ...more
An Indian folktale about an old woman who journeys through the jungle to visit her daughter and grandchildren. Along the way she meets many fierce, hungry animals, but tricks them into waiting to eat her until she's been fattened up by spending time at her daughter's house.

Visiting with her family does indeed fatten the old woman up, but with the help of her daughter she hollows out a large gourd and rolls back down the jungle path in it. She sings a song when she crosses paths with the jungle
Apr 17, 2014 Amitha rated it it was amazing
Blogged this review.

This is a retelling of a traditional folktale about a crafty grandma who uses a giant gourd to outwit the wild jungle animals who want to eat her. I hadn’t heard this tale before, but loved it. The text is fun to read aloud with plenty of noises to make and repetitive text, accompanied by absolutely stunning illustrations. Preschooler Monkey was a little bit scared about poor grandma (“Don’t read that part!”) but rest assured there is a happy ending! We were both intrigued by
Shelley Daugherty
Jun 03, 2013 Shelley Daugherty rated it it was ok
I had a hard time enjoying this folk tale from Bengali. It is the story of an old woman on the way to her daughter's house. Along the way she runs into a fox, a tiger, and a bear. Each one wants to eat her but she convinces them that she will be more tasty when she has eaten at her daughter's house. When time comes to leave, she remembers that the creatures will be waiting for her to come back through the forest. So her daughter seals her up in a huge gourd and rolls her into the forest. None of ...more
Dec 04, 2014 Rekha rated it really liked it
Shelves: folk-fairy-tales
I hadn't heard this folktale before, and I enjoyed it. I first read the version written by Jessica Souhami No Dinner! The Story of the Old Woman and the Pumpkin, and thought it was okay. But I think this version is much better. The story line has more content and there are a lot of sounds that would make it a fun read aloud. The illustrations are vibrant and add to the classic beauty of Indian folklore.
Cheryl Belt-Jackson
May 01, 2015 Cheryl Belt-Jackson rated it it was amazing
Elementary students
Grandma wants to visit her daughter, but has to go through the woods to do so.
This is a great children's story for elementary students. This story story introduce a few new sight words. It has your predictable encounters with people and animal interactions. Once again, people win.
Classroom activity for children could include a map maze to get grandma to her daughter. The road blocks are the fox, the bear, and the tiger.
Sharon Lawler
Apr 11, 2013 Sharon Lawler rated it really liked it
While her dogs guard her home and garden, Grandma goes to visit her daughter, and along the way she is menaced by some beasts of the jungle. At each encounter Grandma tell the animals to wait for her return, as she will be much fatter since her daughter is such a good cook, but this is one very clever Grandma
Holly Thompson
Nov 05, 2013 Holly Thompson rated it really liked it
I love fairy tales from cultures other than mine. This one is about a grandmother in Africa trying to get through the jungle to visit her daughter without getting eaten. See if she outsmarts the animals or if she dies a tasty death.
The Styling Librarian
Grandma and the Great Gourd retold by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, illustrated by Susy Pilgrim Waters, A Bengali Folktale - loved how this story was told, great celebration of dogs, creative thinking and gardening, plus a good dash of trickery too!
Dec 19, 2013 Shamekia rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
This is a cute and charming story with all the ingredients for a great folktale: great use of onomatopoeia, repetition, humor, and talking animals. I think this would be a good choice for classroom reading (1st through 3rd grade).
Sep 25, 2013 Beverly rated it really liked it
A very good folktale about and older woman who tricks three animals. This picture book is the illustrator's first foray into picture book illustrating, and it is a wonderful debut. Stylized illustrations burst with energy and colorful patterns.
Mar 03, 2016 SB rated it it was amazing
Shelves: folk-tales, bengali
Really fun read!
Joan Anderson
Jan 18, 2017 Joan Anderson rated it really liked it
Children's Bengali folktale about a grandmother who escapes a fox, a bear and a tiger by hiding inside a gourd. Similar to Molly Bang's book The Old Woman and the Red Pumpkin.
Mar 28, 2013 Jen rated it liked it
Shelves: pb
very bright pictures. fairly typical human outwitting the animals folk tale.
Apr 24, 2013 Jean-Marie rated it really liked it
Shelves: folk-tale
I love folktales. They make some of the best read aloud.
Aug 13, 2013 Kanis rated it it was amazing

I wish this website had more of my childhood bengali folktales
Sep 20, 2013 Rani rated it really liked it
Retelling of a Bengali folktale.
Nov 12, 2013 Betsy rated it really liked it
Vibrant illustrations and a must-read-aloud text make this trickster tale a lot of fun.
May 03, 2015 Heather rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
An exciting story featuring a clever, adventurous grandmother who matches wits with wild animals on her trip through the jungle. The vibrant illustrations are perfect for this rollicking tale.
Jan 09, 2014 Becky rated it really liked it
A fun Bengali folk tale telling how a Grandma tricks a fox, a bear and a tiger. Also a connection to gardening.

The pictures are lush and colorful, like the colors and patterns of a sari.
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Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning author and poet. Her themes include the Indian experience, contemporary America, women, immigration, history, myth, and the joys and challenges of living in a multicultural world. Her work is widely known, as she has been published in over 50 magazines, including the Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and her writing has been included in over 50 ant ...more
More about Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni...

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