Written by Deepali
Ganapati Bappa Morya, Pudchya Varshi Lavkar Ya……everybody’s beloved Ganesha has finally gone back to his home but we kept the spirit of Ganapati alive with a new, interestingly illustrated book- Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes.
School opened after the Ganesh Chaturthi holidays and I ran up to Kasturba Matoshri School as we have an early start in this school. The book was in my hand as I raced up the steep stairs near the Panjim Church to this school nestled against the Altinho hillock and forgotten in time and development.
Sanjay Patel known for his characteristic illustrations from The Book Of Hindu Gods and an animation artist at Pixar Studio brings us this bold, brilliant and beautifully illustrated story of how Ganesha broke his tusk thereby acquiring the name,’Ekdanta’, for himself and how he helps VyasMuni to write the great epic, ‘ The Mahabharata’.
It as EPIC for me, as I was going to challenge myself with a back to back read aloud marathon in five classes . I started the story and everybody paid rapt attention. And why not, the fact that Ganesha is a cute , playful, loves to eat and one who broke his tusk and tries his level best to fix the tusk back with all possible solutions including a stapler, string, glue and even cello tape was enough to keep the children glued to their seats.
One boy suggested that maybe Ganesha should use Quick Fix as apparently that fixes anything and everything. Our Read Alouds often include Think Alouds and comments like this remind us that children are deeply engaged with both the story and the real world as they make sense of the narrative.
The statement in the story that Ganesha does not like to share his favorite sweets with anybody brought smiles to everyone’s faces. This was familiar, more human like than God like and brought about an immediate connection with Ganesha.
The illustration which showed a very upset and frustrated Ganesha brought serious worry lines on many foreheads. A double page spread with lovely illustrations about different important incidents from the great epic got everyone talking at once in almost all the classes.
It was a joy and an important reminder that children bring much prior knowledge to the classroom as I listened to them tell me the names of many characters like Dhritrashtra, Gaandhaari, Shakuni, Krishna, Karna, Kunti, Bheeshma and many incidents from the Mahabharata.
As I was listening to the children I was confident that their stories emerged from the televised serial Mahabharat but to my surprise, many said that they had heard about the Mahabharata and this story of how Ganesha helped Vyasa write it from their grandparents and parents. I ended my own marathon grateful for the rich tradition of oral story telling that our culture keeps alive and equally thankful for the print medium that brings these stories back like Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth with a twist and some fun!