Monday, July 30, 2012

GANESHA'S SWEET TOOTH by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes

I was pleasantly surprised to find a copy of Ganesha's Sweet Tooth  by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes from Chronicle Books last week. I had not heard of the book but was immediately drawn to the colorful and happy cover art.  I read the letter from the publisher and learned a bit about the illustrator, Sanjay Patel. Sanjay is an Indian-American animator at Pixar Animation Studios. The letter says that "Sanjay is passionate about using modern graphics to illuminate the ancient stories of his culture."

I was intrigued so I went on to read the book. This is a fun story derived from an popular legend in Hindu. This story is about an elephant-headed animal who rides around on a mouse (who is also his best friend).  He loves candy and sweets, especially the traditional laddoo.  But he accidentally breaks his tusk when he tries a "super jumbo jawbreaker laddoo".  He is not upset for long because Vyasa asks him to write an important story and his broken tusk becomes quite handy.

From reading the Author's Note, I learned that this isn't actually a retelling of the Hindu legend. Rather it is a bit different--the plot and scenes and details are different. But there is enough of a connection to lead readers back to the original story. This author/illustrator team did an amazing job creating this book together.

I am always looking for stories from various cultures and I love this one. There are very few Hindu stories available for children and I am glad to have this one. I think the illustrations are really what makes this book stand out for me . Although it is an ancient tale, the illustrations will grab young readers today-they are colorful, engaging and smart.  The illustrations invite today's readers into this story from the past--I think that is so critical if we want to hold onto important stories.

Again, I am thrilled to have received this book and am excited to know more about this ancient Hindu legend as well as this illustrator!

(You can read an interview with the illustrator here.)

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