Book Title: Under The Great Plum Tree (available here)
Author: Sufiya Ahmed
Illustrator: Reza Dalvand
Publisher: Tiny Owl
Publication Date: October 2019
Most Suitable For: KS1-Lower Key Stage 2
Reviewed By: Jenny Holder, Reading Coordinator at Liverpool Learning Partnership
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 together. 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 into 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!
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Jenny for reviewing it.
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