Story of Little Babaji

Story of Little Babaji

4.2 4
by Helen Bannerman, Fred Marcellino
     
 

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Babaji goes for a walk in the jungle, proudly sporting his fine new clothes. Whom does he meet, but several hungry tigers! To avoid being eaten, Babaji convinces each tiger to take a piece of his clothing. The tale of how Babaji outwits these vain beasts, gets his clothes back, and enjoys tiger butter with his pancake dinner has been entertaining readers since 1899.… See more details below

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Overview

Babaji goes for a walk in the jungle, proudly sporting his fine new clothes. Whom does he meet, but several hungry tigers! To avoid being eaten, Babaji convinces each tiger to take a piece of his clothing. The tale of how Babaji outwits these vain beasts, gets his clothes back, and enjoys tiger butter with his pancake dinner has been entertaining readers since 1899. Originally titled The Story of Little Black Sambo, this classic is given new life by Marcellino's superb watercolors.

Editorial Reviews

May Hill Arbuthnot
This story, which might almost have come out of some folklore collection, has about it an effortless perfection which baffles analysis . . . The formula is: extreme simplicity of language, short, cadenced sentences with enough repetition to give the pleasant rhythm little children enjoy, a plot full of mild and funny surprises, considerable suspense, and complete satisfaction at the end. Still, the easy charm of this unaffected, convincing little tale eludes us.
Publishers Weekly
In a starred review, PW said, "Marcellino takes on the task of recasting Bannerman's 1899 Little Black Sambo and obtains winning results. He sets his version in India and his stylish and comparatively spare interpretation captures the childlike whimsy and charm of this long-lived tale." Ages 3-up. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Helen Bannerman's 1899 Little Black Sambo has been transformed into a story that preserves the old magic, but add a new richness. Fred Marcellino preserves the original in many ways. With the exception of changing the names to authentic Indian names, the text is original, as is the small size, and the simplicity of illustration. Even the book's paper stock has a generosity uncommon in many new releases. While it's clear Marcellino has worked to preserve the integrity of the original, he has wrought subtle changes for the better. Using a setting and characters that are both Indian makes for a more integrated story, his brilliant watercolors allow for the richness of Babaji's clothing colors to come through, and his style brings a new depth of motion and emotion to the story.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2Bannerman's famous (perhaps infamous) book, The Story of Little Black Sambo, first appeared in 1899. In the original, a "little black boy" loses articles of his clothing to a succession of tigers. Argue as they do, the animals cannot decide who among them is the grandest. In their anger they whirl around a tree so fast that they melt into a pool of butter ("or `ghi' as it is called in India") while the boy recovers his clothing. "Black Jumbo," the boy's father, takes the butter home to Sambo's mother, "Black Mumbo." A note on this newly illustrated version states that, "For this edition of Bannerman's story, the little boy, his mother, and his father have been given authentic Indian names": Babaji, Mamaji, and Papaji. Marcellino's illustrations clearly set the story in India in a time long past. Though the artist's watercolors are well crafted, often amusing, and appropriate to the tone of the text, they and the "new" names appear to only replace one clich with another. The bug-eyed characters, with their diminutive names, serve only to create a new stereotype. Humor is conveyed in the body language of the tigers, and they are magnificently done. Many remember Bannerman's tale fondly, though the story itself has a condescending, childish tone. Those who want a relic of their childhood are likely to be disappointed in this edition. Julius Lester's retelling, Sam and the Tigers, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney (Dial, 1996), retains the appealing aspects of the story but adds a fresh humor and less-clichd perspective through the names and the warm illustrations.Maria B. Salvadore, District of Columbia Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
A children's classic gets the Michael Jackson treatment: lightened skin, fancy new dress, a bit of (editorial) cosmetic surgery and voila! Fine old wine in a new bottle. The text remains the same (less the American edition's preface), except that Black Sambo, Black Mumbo, and Black Jumbo are given what are billed as "authentic Indian names"—Little Babaji, Mamaji, and Papaji—that are still appropriately ingenuous, but considerably less loaded. Marcellino (The Pelican Chorus, 1995, etc.) provides illustrations far more polished than the originals, ably capturing both the story's true setting and its glorious silliness. Little Babaji, looking like a glossy teak marionette, faces a succession of huge, luxuriously supple tigers whose eventual meltdown provides him, Papaji, and sari-clad Mamaji with a supper of pancakes—and "Little Babaji ate a Hundred and Sixty-Nine, because he was so hungry." Offered in a square format about an inch higher than the diminutive original, this remake combines a star illustrator and a story with proven appeal: You can't beat it.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062050656
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/28/1996
Series:
Michael Di Capua Books Series
Pages:
72
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 6.50(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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