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A Bucket of Blessings
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A Bucket of Blessings

by Kabir Sehgal, Surishtha Sehgal, Jing Jing Tsong (Illustrator), Maya Angelou (Afterword)

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A beautiful myth from India comes to life in this enchanting, New York Times bestselling picture book.

Near a majestic mountain in a vast jungle with many mango trees, it has not rained for weeks and weeks. The village well and pond are dry. Monkey and his friends look everywhere for water, but they have no luck. And then Monkey remembers a story his mama


A beautiful myth from India comes to life in this enchanting, New York Times bestselling picture book.

Near a majestic mountain in a vast jungle with many mango trees, it has not rained for weeks and weeks. The village well and pond are dry. Monkey and his friends look everywhere for water, but they have no luck. And then Monkey remembers a story his mama used to tell him, a story about how peacocks can make it rain by dancing. So he sets out to see if the story is true…

This little-known legend, told with dramatic rhythm and illustrated with the colors and textures of India, is sure to delight and inspire.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Tsong (Up in the Hawaiian Sky) illustrates this modest folktale with crisp artwork, assembling colored and patterned shapes to depict a mountainside in rural India. A drought has parched the land, and Monkey, who has lilac fur and a nearly human face, hopes the peacock at the top of the mountain can break the drought by dancing. “Oh, Monkey, I need water to make it rain,” the peacock tells him. On the way down, Monkey takes refuge in a cave. In a striking spread, a single shaft of light makes a secret spring gleam; nothing could better convey the water’s preciousness. Monkey fills his bucket, but it’s leaky, and it drips steadily as Monkey again climbs the mountain. In despair, he looks behind him to discover a trail of flowers, leaves, and birds. The water has brought them miraculously to life and allowed the peacock to dance and bring rain, too. Kabir Sehgal and his mother, Surishtha, tell the story in the simplest prose; the wealth water represents is conveyed through Tsong’s artwork. Some of the book’s proceeds will benefit a water charity. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)
Dr. Maya Angelou
"Kabir and Surishtha Sehgal, in their A Bucket of Blessings, have managed to inform the readership exquisitely of a thousand truths in just about a few hundred words. The reader is shown that it is a blessing to be a blessing. The authors deftly show the reader that when one's intent is to help another, people whose names they will never know and faces they will never see, will benefit. This is a wonderful children's story which adults will find delightful to read."
Library Media Connection
"In this Indian myth, Monkey and his neighbors need water because it has not rained for weeks. . . . This tale is beautifully illustrated using layers of color and texture through traditional stone printing. The brightness of the animals stands out; the lushness of the flowers is depicted through vibrant, patterned colors. This is a beautiful book which could be a great introduction to Indian culture. The authors’ note will help readers understand the importance of the peacock in India. It is an absolutely delightful read!"
April 2014 Booklist
"This is a story about the power of belief—and water. . . . Peacock radiates life, with bright colors and fanciful designs in his extraordinary tail. His persona juxtaposes well against Tsong's blue monkey. His childlike face adds to the book's imaginative and appealing nature."
Rosalynn Carter
"A charming tale that encourages us to recognize our blessings and inspires us to find beauty in serving others."
Marian Wright Edelman
"This book will remind the youngest readers about the power of hope and how just one person can make a big difference."
Gurcharan Das
"I was captivated by this story, and millions of children will be too."
Dr. Shashi Tharoor
"A simple, moving story with beautiful illustrations, A Bucket of Blessings will bring joy to children and parents alike. It embodies a positive message in a delightful way and is charmingly told. A classic in the making."
Scott Harrison
"Children are the most vulnerable to unsafe water. This story helps them learn the importance of bringing water to a village, and how water can be a spring of happiness and delight."
Jeanne Shaheen
"A Bucket of Blessings is a delightfully illustrated book which describes for children the benefits of "giving back" to their communities and the world. It is a wonderful book to enjoy reading with children and grandchildren."
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Monkey, our hero, lives in a jungle where it has not rained in weeks. The well and pond are dry. Remembering a story his mother told about how peacocks dancing can bring rain, Monkey climbs the nearby mountain to visit Peacock. But Peacock says he needs water to make it rain. Monkey finds a hidden spring and fills a bucket for Peacock. When he finds him, Monkey is crushed to find that almost all the water has leaked out of the bucket along the way. But when he looks back, we see on a double page that the leaked water has brought everything behind him back to colorful life. Inspired, Peacock drinks the last few drops of water from the bucket and dances in a stunning picture. The rain begins to fall. The leaky bucket has been “a blessing to us all.” Tsong uses traditional block prints combined with digital rendering to fill the double pages with intense colors and patterns. The blue monkey has a human-type face; the other animals are more naturalistic but stylized. A note relates the story to Indian literature and art and Hindu mythology. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz; Ages 4 to 8.
Children's Literature - Leona Illig
In this folktale from India, Monkey lives in a jungle and things are not going well. The pond and the well in the village have run dry, and there is no water for anyone. But Monkey remembers that his Mother once told him that peacocks can make it rain by dancing, and so he sets out with an empty bucket to find a peacock and bring water back to his neighbors. Along the way, he finds some water in a cave and fills his bucket. Not realizing that his bucket has a hole in it, he unwittingly spills the water as he travels, nourishing everything in his path. And when he does find the peacock, that animal has some timely words of wisdom for him. The moral of the story revolves around the ideas that doing good can have unexpected consequences, and that not everything turns out as you might expect. The environmental theme about the importance of water is well timed and sound. The illustrations are as vivid and colorful as India itself. They show scenes from different perspectives and focus points, and use the entire color spectrum. The illustrations are full page, with a few words on each. Because of the limited text, it is important for readers to look carefully at the pictures, since they play an important role in telling the story. Beautiful illustrations and a charming story with real-world implications make this an excellent book for home, library, or school. A portion of the proceeds goes to a charity that sponsors clean water projects. There is also an activities website for the book. Reviewer: Leona Illig; Ages 4 to 8.
Kirkus Reviews
Deep in the jungle, the animals are experiencing a drought. Monkey remembers the story his mother had told him about how "peacocks can make it rain by dancing," so he climbs the mountain to find the bird. Peacock claims he needs water to make it rain; conveniently, Monkey now finds some inside a cave. Unbeknownst to him, the bucket he fetches to carry the water has a hole, and it leaks all the way back to Peacock. Not only do those drops change the landscape from brown to Technicolor, but when Peacock dances in response to the remaining drips, "buckets of rain" begin to fall. The illustrations are a combination of block printing and digital manipulation. While the monkey is awkwardly rendered, the textures of the landscape are pleasing, and some double-page spreads—in particular, the storm and the peacock's dance—are striking. These do not compensate, however, for a contrived plot and lackluster writing; there is little to recommend this story despite the well-meaning provision to funnel a portion of profits to a clean-water charity. Books born to carry a message are burdened by that baggage; this is no exception. (authors' note) (Picture book. 3-5)

Product Details

Beach Lane Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.50(d)
AD560L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Kabir Sehgal started his class newspaper in second grade and has been writing ever since. A bestselling author of several books, he is also a jazz bassist and Grammy-winning producer. One day he hopes to drive a tuk tuk through the streets of India. But for now he rides the subway in New York City.

Surishtha Sehgal was a university professor for many years and now enjoys reading to children during story time. She is the founder of a nonprofit organization that promotes social responsibility among students, and she serves on the boards of two universities and a national arts center. She loves sipping chai with her family in Atlanta.

Jing Jing Tsong is a mom, musician, and surfer whose grown-up job is drawing pictures. Her technique, which layers color and texture, is influenced by her experiences working in traditional stone lithography and monoprints. Her debut picture book, A Bucket of Blessings, written by Kabir and Surishtha Sehgal, was a New York Times bestseller. Jing Jing and her husband Mike Austin (also a designer turned illustrator) live on an island in Washington state. Visit her at JingJingTsong.com.

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