National Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Kid Lit Review of “Grandma and the Great Gourd” by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni


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 her daughter, she decides she better go home in disguise, and hides in a giant gourd. The tiger and bear both give the gourd a push, but the fox is too smart, and breaks open the gourd. Grandma asks him to let her sing before he eats her, and she uses her song to call for her dogs. They scare away the fox, and they all live happily ever after.


Evaluation: Children will love this rhythmic story and the colorful cut-out collage pictures by Susy Pilgrim Waters. The onomatopoetic Indian phrases for sounds (“khut-khut”, “daraam-daraam”, “kutur-kutur-kut”) make this a great candidate for reading aloud.

Rating: 3.5/5

Published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan, 2013



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3 Responses to National Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Kid Lit Review of “Grandma and the Great Gourd” by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

  1. Beth F says:

    The illustrations alone call to me.

  2. Rachel says:

    I love the illustrations! I just love Indian culture (most of it anyway – not so much the raping and whatnot). I read an adult book, The Oleander Girl by Chitra and I loved it. I’m definitely getting this one for my kids!

  3. stacybuckeye says:

    I love the illustrations, but think Gage probably won’t. Much of what he likes is based on the illustrations. Are you the one who suggested On a Beam of Light about Einstein? Surprisingly, he sits through the whole thing, interested – I think because the pictures appeal to him.

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