LONGLIST REVIEW: Pattan's Pumpkin

Pattan lived with his wife, Kanni, on the banks of a river in India, in harmony with the animals that lived there also. When he found an 'ailing plant', he bought it to his garden and tended it. The result was an amazing pumpkin. 

When rain clouds gathered, threatening their home, Pattan worried about all the creatures - how could he take them to safety? Luckily, he had the pumpkin which was big enough to house them all as it rained and rained and rained. At last, the pumpkin reached the plains where Pattan knew they would be safe and they settled, planting the last pumpkin seed.

This story is one told by the people of the Irular tribe from southern India who believe they are descended from Pattan and Kanni and live in the village that they founded all those years ago. It is a beautifully told tale, with vividly illustrations full of the colours of India.

Told in a simple, storytelling style, 'Pattan's Pumpkin' could easily be used for an oral storytelling session, allowing children to develop their own ideas and add their own details to the story. Its structure also lends itself to innovations- what else might someone grow to rescue everyone in? Apparently, in the original story, Pattan used a gourd! 

There are obvious links to be made with other flood stories- Gilgamesh, Manu, Noah- which can be discussed, compared and enjoyed and there is a great deal of work across the curriculum which could develop from having read the story. 

The illustrations are delightful! There is a charming simplicity about them which suits the style of the story perfectly. Just right for encouraging children to illustrate their own stories!

Pattan's Pumpkin by Chitra Soundar, illustrated by Frane Lessac

Otter-Barry Books     ISBN: 978-1910959442