A Bucket of Blessings: with audio recordingby Maya Angelou
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/i>
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.
K-Gr 3—Near a beautiful mountain, in a jungle where mango trees grow, lives Monkey. It has not rained for weeks, and both the well and pond are dry. Monkey and his animal neighbors look and look, but there is no water to be found. Eventually, he remembers a story his mother once told about how dancing peacocks can bring rain. So he sets out to climb the mountain to see if Peacock can help bring water to the village. Peacock, however, says he needs water to help make it rain. "Can you find me some?" asks Peacock, and Monkey agrees to try. Lucky Monkey finds a hidden cave with a spring, gets his bucket, and heads back up the mountain. Passing all the animals along the way, he thinks things are beginning to look up, until he discovers that his bucket has a hole. There are only a few drops of water left. Nevertheless, the water spilled along the way is enough to make the land magically bloom. He pours the last few drops onto Peacock's head, who spreads his beautifully colored tail feathers and dances. The rains return. Based on an Indian myth, the story is one of perseverance and hope in the midst of trouble. The colorful illustrations have been rendered with block prints in combination with digital enhancements. A nice addition to folklore collections.—Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA
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.)
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."
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)
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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