Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Old Woman and the Red Pumpkin

by Betsy and Molly Bang
Macmillan, 1975
The Old Woman and the Red Pumpkin by Molly Bang is a Bengali folktale translated and adapted by Betsy Bang.  This is the third book she illustrated, but is one of my favorites.  Bang's style for this book was based on art depicting Jainism.  However, the emergence of her style and the influences this religious art had on her future illustrations is obvious.

The story follows a widow who travels to her grand-
daughter's house.  Along the way she meets some hungry animals.  The old woman will have to use all her cleverness to arrive safely at her family's house and return home again unharmed.

I didn't discover this charming book until I had a family of my own, but it reminds me of The Lambikin by Helen S. Hansen, illustrated by Jack and Louise Meyers for Whitman in 1962. I used to ask my mother to read The Lambikin over and over.   The Lambikin was originally taken from Tales of the Punjab, so the comparison makes perfect sense.

The old woman meets the bear,
Molly Bang
Lambikin by Helen Hansen

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