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

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  114 ratings  ·  25 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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This beautifully illustrated story is a 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
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.
Alex Baugh
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
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
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
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
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
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!
Shelley Daugherty
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
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.
Sharon Lawler
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
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.
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).
Holly Thompson
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.
Jennifer Burke
I read this book to the 1st grade class I visited today. It fits in well with the "Dig Into Reading" Summer Reading Program theme, especially if you choose to do a garden-themed storytime.
Edward Sullivan
Entertaining folktale about a clever grandma who outwits several hungry, fierce beasties wanting to eat her. Lovely, lush illustrations.
A unique tale, the complex illustrations add depth, the preparative nature and solution to the problem have great teaching potential.

I wish this website had more of my childhood bengali folktales
Vibrant illustrations and a must-read-aloud text make this trickster tale a lot of fun.
Mar 28, 2013 Jen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: pb
very bright pictures. fairly typical human outwitting the animals folk tale.
3.5 stars
vivid illustrations and well written Indian folk tale
Folktale. Similar to Margaret Read MacDonald's Conejito.
I love folktales. They make some of the best read aloud.
Retelling of a Bengali folktale.
Kristina marked it as to-read
Jan 19, 2015
Carissa marked it as to-read
Jan 11, 2015
Maya Sweeney
Maya Sweeney marked it as to-read
Jan 03, 2015
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Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning author and poet. 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 anthologies. Her works have been translated into 20 languages, including Dutch, Hebrew and Japanese.Her newest novel is Oleander Girl (Simon and Schuster, 2013) http: ...more
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