sweetness

on

30 days of pb

Day One:  Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth

by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes, illustrated by Sanjay Patel

Chronicle Books, 2012. Includes “Authors’ Note” wherein some pronunciation help is provided.

ganesha's sweettooth coverGanesha is just like any other kid, except that he has the head of an elephant and rides around on a magical mouse. And he loves sweets, especially the traditional dessert laddoo. But when Ganesha insists on biting into a super jumbo jawbreaker laddoo, his tusk breaks off! Ganesha is terribly upset, but with the help of the wise poet Vyasa, and his friend Mr. Mouse, he learns that what seems broken can actually be quite useful after all.

The bold, bright colors of India leap right off the page in this fresh and funny picture book retelling (with a twist) of how Ganesha came to help write the epic poem of Hindu literature, the Mahabharata. With vibrant, graphic illustrations, expressive characters, and offbeat humor, this is a wonderfully inventive rendition of a classic tale.—jacket copy

Ganeshas Sweet Tooth_Int 1

The vibrant colors and beautiful pattern work sweeten the reading of this picture book. The energy in the illustrations is akin to a sugar high, without the troubling side effects. The familiar amid the un- was a nice touch and a smart move. The authors, in their note, hope their play with the classic tale will intrigue readers/listeners to greater intrigue. I hope they do a whole series.* I am already hooked.

ganesha's Sweettooth1The illustrative work of doing the lengthier passages of time is clever and the design work is remarkable. Love the shift to blues for backgrounds, and Mouse’s reassurance: “Everyone loses their teeth. And besides, you already have an elephant’s head and your friends still love you.” The bright pinks and yellows and turquoise darken to blues and grays with Ganesha’s mood, only to return in a sunny declarative array once Ganesha is able to appreciate the turn of events. The turn of greater selflessness is subtle, but noticeable, and parent’s will also appreciate the calming effect of the last illustrated page when the colors mute into cooling tones and the movement of the illustrations have taken on a repose for this final scene.

ganesha's sweettooth endpages

{the endpages}

I absolutely adore this picture book, it is beautiful, entertaining, and invites the imagination and further interest in the story to which it alludes…Needless to say, I highly recommend it.

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*Discovered Gheehappy.com: “Ghee Happy is a brand that celebrates Indian mythology and culture thru design and storytelling in a fun and modern way.  This vision has lead to the publication of two books, museum exhibits, apparel, and products.” Ramayana: Divine Loophole (Chronicle Books, 2010) sounds awesome.

Sanjay Patel is an animator and storyboard artist for Pixar Animation Studios, where he has worked on many features including A Bug’s Life, Ratatouille, and the Cars series. Sanjay is also the creator of Ramayana: Divine LoopholeThe Big Poster Book of Hindu Deities, and The Little Book of Hindu Deities. His modern interpretations of Hindu epics have been exhibited at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum.

Emily Haynes is an editor by day, specializing in entertainment and humor titles, and a children’s writer by night. In her spare time she can often be found up to her elbows in clay, making functional ceramics. This is her first children’s book.

{images belong to Sanjay Patel}

 

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