Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday (PPBF) again. This week you will get not one but TWO in-depth reviews for this week’s pick GANESHA’S SWEET TOOTH.  So why two reviews this week, you ask? Upon receiving this book from the publisher, I was completely speechless regarding the unique illustrations, I did not have a clue as to how to describe the beautiful artwork. Luckily, I know the awesome Carter Higgins who runs an awesome blog, Design of the Picture Book, where she discusses everything related to illustrations; I roped her in to doing a joint review. After you read today’s post, hop on over to Carter’s blog for the rest of the review.

I would also like to thank Julie from World of Julie for this book recommendation. Thanks!

Title: Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth
Authors: Sanjay Patel & Emily Haynes
Illustrator: Sanjay Patel
Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2012
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Themes: Hindu Mythology

“I look lopsided!” he said. “Everyone will laugh at me.”
“No, they won’t,” said Mr. Moue. “Everyone loses their teeth. And besides, you already have an elephant’s head and your friends still love you.”

Synopsis (from Chronicle Books Website):
The bold, bright colors of India leap right off the page in this fresh and funny picture book adaptation of how Ganesha came to write the epic poem of Hindu literature, the Mahabharata. Ganesha is just like any other kid, except that he has the head of an elephant and rides around on a magical mouse. And he loves sweets, especially the traditional dessert laddoo. But when Ganesha insists on biting into a super jumbo jawbreaker laddoo, his tusk breaks off! Ganesha is terribly upset, but with the help of the wise poet Vyasa, he learns that what seems broken can actually be quite useful after all. With vibrant, graphic illustrations, expressive characters, and offbeat humor, this is a wonderfully inventive twist on a classic tale.

Recipe for making laddoos.
Ganesha coloring pages.
Online links on Ganesha and Hinduism for Kids

Traditional re-tellings of Ganesha.

Other books my Sanjay Patel on Hindu Mythology

Brief Background on Lord Ganesha:
Lord Ganesha is one of the most worshipped gods by Hindus, since he is the remover of obstacles. He was given this task by the deities to help the people on Earth, hence he is kind of like the people’s God. Hindus say prayers to Lord Ganesha before important events such as weddings, starting a new planting season, or opening a store. People will give the god offerings such as Indian sweets, fruit, and nuts.

Why I Like This Book:
A colorful, modern, humorous, loose-retelling of how Ganesha broke his tusk. This book is full of kid-appeal that can serve has a good first introduction to the elephant god.

I find traditional retellings of Hindu mythology or folktales to be strong in the action and morality aspects but very dry when it comes to character, and somewhat un-relatable. It if for this reason that I love this modern take of Ganesha, even with its deviations from the actual story.

Ganesha is cute and like an ordinary Indian boy. He plays cricket (British sport like baseball), dances, rings temple bells, and cruises around on his mouse (which reminded me of skateboarding). A child character is not complete without discussing his favorite sweet; for Ganesha it’s the laddoo. I love the idea of the “Jawbreaker Laddoo”; I think it is hilarious, especially since it comes out of a gumball machine. Genius! (fyi – a real laddoo would fall apart if it came out of machine) And when Ganesha breaks his tusk, I like that he tries to re-attach it with tape. Vyasa the poet helps Ganesha learn how he his broken tusk can still be useful. Ganesha does assist Vyasa by writing down the epic Hindu story, the Mahabharata. (this part is true) I like the off-beat humor of Mr. Mouse acting as Ganesha’s lawyer.

This book would work well for storytime, it provides a first glimpse into Hindu mythology for young kids. For classroom settings, I would recommend supplementing this book with other traditional retellings.

For an in-depth look at the gorgeous illustrations that just “pop”, please head over to Design of the Picture Book.

Find Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth at the following spots:
Kitaab WorldAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 1452103623
ISBN-13: 978-1452103624

This review is part of Susana Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

Disclosure: I received my copy of Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth from the publisher Chronicle Books. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

No Responses to “Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth”

  1. Susanna Leonard Hill

    This book sounds wonderful, Darshana, very interesting and different, and educational as well as an introduction to something kids might not know a lot about. And you’re right – the art is something else! Going over to Carter’s to get her take on it 🙂 Thanks so much for adding this one to our list!

  2. Joanna

    What a great idea to combine with Carter. You know, I haven’t read any picture books of Hindu mythology, but this sounds like kids of all cultures could relate so easily to this retelling. Great addition to PPBF.

    • Darshana

      Thanks Joann, Carter and I are having fun with the joint review. This is a good intro book, however to really learn about his role as a god and the lessons learned you really do have to search out other books. Glad I could introduce you to something new. 🙂

  3. Carrie Finison

    This book looks amazing, Darshana! I am fascinated by storytelling in other cultures. We have a book of Hindu stories and I find it so interesting. Some of them have such a completely different structure and purpose. I think we’re so used to stories where characters ‘learn something’ or change at the end that it’s almost confusing to read a story that doesn’t have that structure. This one sounds like a great retelling. My son loves folktales and legends so I’ll definitely seek it out.

    • Darshana

      Thanks Carrie. Valid point about the structure being different, but I think that is true for most folktales. I actually think with this book it has more of the traditional pb story beats (intro, problem, tries to solve on own, climax, resolution) The main difference hear is you have a wise person who helps Ganesha find a solution.

  4. Patricia Tilton

    I really love your choice. Have always enjoyed Hindu mythology. This story sounds wonderful. Liked Carter Higgins’ interpretation and a peek at the inside of the book. My son brought me back a beautiful Ganesh from India. Will have to find this fun book. Great way to teach kids about the Hindu culture and mythology.

    • Darshana

      Thanks Pat! Yes it is a great intro book. I would also recommend checking out Ramayan: The Divine Loophole (linked in the Activities Section). It is a longer book and you get a bit more of the essence of Hindu Mythology in it.

    • Darshana

      Thanks Jen. Glad you enjoyed the post. As part of the Perfect Picture Book Series hosted by Susanna Hill, all reviews have activities therefore making them more useful for educators.

  5. Mrs. AOK

    My children and I love this book! The illustrations are delightful 🙂
    I was happy to read this to my children and learn a little more about Hinduism.
    Thanks for sharing diversity. Happy #MCKlitDay!

  6. PragmaticMom

    I love learning about the Hindu gods like Ganesha! Thanks so much for your great review and for supporting Multicultural Children’s Book Day!!


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