Gobble You Up!

Gita Wolf, illus. by Sunita. Tara (PGW, dist.), $34.95 (40p) ISBN 978-81-923171-4-4
In this Indian folktale, a greedy jackal eats every animal he meets. “My, you’ve put on weight!” a peacock tells the jackal, who’s already eaten 12 fish, a crane, tortoise, squirrel, and cat. “I’m not fat!” yells the jackal. “And if anyone says so, I have to gobble them up!” Wolf (The Enduring Ark) packs her lines with distinctive noises—“And zutth! that was the end of the peacock”—and builds a cumulative verse with each animal: “Listen peacock/ full of poise—/Don’t call me fat!/ I ate a cat!” Smart design shows Sunita’s folk art animals to their best advantage. The intricately detailed b&w animals (painted in a traditional style known as Mandana) appear against brown butcher-paper pages and stand out as clearly as signs. All the animals inside the jackal can be seen in cutaway; when he bursts, inevitably, the animals fall out unharmed. The jackal is unruffled: “A tailor bird will stitch my tummy up again.” Punchy writing and bold images make this a promising readaloud prospect. It’s a work of art, too, hand-silkscreened, each numbered copy part of a limited edition. Ages 3–up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/2013
Release date: 10/01/2013
Genre: Children's
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