Pattan's pumpkin: an Indian flood story by Chitra Soundar

cover image

Ill. by Frane Lessac. Otter-Barry Books (Little Orchard) 2016. ISBN 9781910959442
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Flood stories. Myths and legends. India. Many cultures have a myth about a great flood destroying part of their world, and this Indian story will be a wonderful addition to a library's store of myths and legends, begging to be read and compared with other stories in other cultures.
Pattan an Indian farmer tends his crops in his valley with his wife, Kannie and their children. He finds a small plant with large yellow flowers and takes it home. Here it grows one enormous pumpkin, so large that it overshadows everything in the vicinity. One day it begins to rain and does not stop. As the water rises, Pattan and Kanni fill sacks with grain and rice to be taken to higher ground, and he dives into the enormous pumpkin and scoops out the flesh. The animals follow him into the pumpkin and when the pumpkin is cut from the stalk, it rolls down into the river, with everyone safe inside. Kanni sings to keep them calm, and when they find the pumpkin has stopped, they look out to find they are in a lovely valley and the rain has stopped. They then build their houses and plant their crops and their families have been there ever since.
This makes a wonderful story of surviving the rain, of keeping your family together, or thanking your forebears for what they achieved, all startlingly illustrated by Frane Lessac. Readers will not be able to take their eyes off her vibrant drawings reflecting the Indian background and the plants and animals of that region.
Fran Knight