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Under the Great Plum Tree

Book Synopsis

An unlikely friendship between Miss Bandari and Mr Magarmach forms when the pair meet under the great plum tree, deep in the heart of India. Mr Magarmach is old and his hunting days are over but Miss Bandari loves hearing his stories as they munch plums together. One day their friendship is tested but with courage, trust and forgiveness they discover that living happily together tastes just as sweet as Miss Bandari’s golden plums.

The story of the monkey and the crocodile is a fable from the Panchatantra, an ancient Indian collection of animal fables dated to 300 BCE. But it’s a tale from around the world and versions can be found in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, China, Japan and the Caribbean.

Our Review Panel says...

Tiny Owl’s ‘One Story, Many Voices’ range celebrates a rich global heritage of story-telling. It explores how many stories from around the world have their own flavour but also striking similarities. Sufiya Ahmed’s recent addition to the series, Under The Great Plum Tree, is based upon the stories of the Panchatantra, a collection of ancient Indian animal fables.

Miss Bandari, the kind-hearted monkey, and Mr Magarmach, an old crocodile who likes to tell stories of his youth, have become unlikely friends. Each day they meet under a plum tree to share fruit and tales. Until the day when Mr Magarmach decides to take Miss Bandari for lunch at King Crocodile’s swamp. Will they just enjoy a nice meal together or is King Crocodile trying to manipulate their friendship to get his own tasty lunch?

This is a beautifully written picture book about the nature of friendship and forgiveness. It would be a wonderful text for exploration and discussion relating to work in PHSE or Philosophy for Children. It could form the basis of a debate on the importance of forgiveness in friendships and family relationships. Due to the underlying message of Under The Great Plum Tree, it also could be used for comparing/contrasting with fables from other traditions.

Reza Dalvand’s strikingly vibrant illustrations are inspired by Indo-Persian tradition. The depiction of the lush foliage in the jungle lends itself well to the study of shapes found in nature. The use of pattern and marking would make a great stimulus for exploration in sketchbooks.

I absolutely loved Under The Great Plum Tree and think it’s a must for traditional tale collections!

This book is available on these booklists:

Under The Great Plum Tree: Activity Pack

A resource pack provided by the publisher to accompany the book

Under the Great Plum Tree

under the great plum tree

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