Recommended for ages 4-8
This adorable story puts a new spin on the Hindu myth that tells the story of how Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, came to help write the epic poem, The Mahabharata. Young Ganesha has a sweet tooth and particularly loves laddoos – a kind of jawbreaker candy – until one day, he breaks a tusk on one! What’s a young godling to do? He meets the poet, Vyasa, who offers a surprising way to make the best of the situation.
I can’t say enough about this book. The art is stunning. Sanjay Patel is an animator at Pixar Studios, and the look and feel of the overall story definitely has a fun quality to it that Pixar fans will appreciate and everyone will enjoy. The colors and Indian-influenced artwork are breathtaking. This is artwork I would hang in my kids’ room, it’s so beautiful. It’s colorful and exciting, and introduces children to Indian-influenced art, which many will likely never have seen before.
At the same time, the artwork is adorable. Children will adore Little Ganesha and his best friend Mouse and relate to them. What child wouldn’t want to sit and eat candy all day long? What child doesn’t believe he or she is invincible, as Ganesha does? When Ganesha breaks his tooth, he is worried about his appearance and becomes angry and frustrated, throwing his tusk at the moon. He loses his temper, like any other child would in a frustrating situation, and there is a friendly adult, in the person of Vyasa, to deflect Ganesha’s anger and channel it into something productive.
There are good lessons to be learned in this story, including making the best of a bad situation and how sharing is important, as illustrated between Ganesha, Mouse, and their other friends. I read the digital version of the book, but encourage adults to read the actual storybook, as the font is playful, round, and fun, attracting young readers’ eyes and directing them to the action and flow of the story. The artwork will keep little eyes busy – there is so much to see! – and the story lends itself to great post-storytime discussions about sharing, listening to your friends, and seeing the good in every situation.