I have an on-going, and seemingly never-satisfied, thirst for myths, legends and folktales from around the world, in particular origin myths. So when I saw today’s Perfect Picture Book on the recent acquisitions shelf at my local library, I had to nab it, and, like the young monkey in the story, share it.
Title: A Bucket of Blessings
Written By: Kabir Sehgal & Surishtha Sehgal
Illustrated By: Jing Jing Tsong
Publisher/date: Beach Lane Books, 2014
Suitable for Ages: 4-8
Themes/Topics: India, legends, peacocks, water, blessings, drought
Opening: “Near a majestic mountain, in a vast jungle with many mango trees, lives Monkey. It has not rained for weeks. The village well and the pond are dry.”
Brief Synopsis: In the midst of a drought, a young monkey remembers a legend told by his mother: a peacock can make it rain by dancing. The monkey asks the peacock to dance, only to learn that the peacock needs water to make it rain. Monkey finds water, but a leaky bucket may dash his hopes for rain.
Links to Resources: Younger children can color peacocks, or try drawing them. Collages, from scraps of colored paper, wallpaper scraps or fabric, would be another interesting project. Older children can try their hands at India-themed crafts.
A hand-off race with a water-filled bucket could provide some interesting conversations as the water invariably sloshes out and disappears.
Older children can learn more about water scarcity and how they can help, at Charity Water, the charity designated by Beach Lane Books to receive a portion of proceeds from A Bucket of Blessings.
Why I Like this Book: A plucky monkey, a radiant peacock, a legend from a part of the world I frankly don’t know enough about, a problem that affects so many people in the world and gorgeous illustrations: what’s not to like about this book? The story is told simply, and the illustrations are gorgeous. Mother-son duo, Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal, offer a non-preachy lesson on the importance of water, with a bonus donation to support charitywater.org.
This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!