cover image No Dinner

No Dinner

Jessica Souhami. Marshall Cavendish Children's Books, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7614-5059-7

An unusual pumpkin does double duty as both delectable dish and handy disguise in this retelling of an Indian folktale. Feeling especially frail and thin, an old woman longs to visit her granddaughter, but a forest filled with vicious, hungry animals separates the two. When she can wait no longer, the old woman decides to make the perilous trip anyhow. Along the way, she convinces a tiger, a bear and a fox that, being as thin as she is, she wouldn't be worth eating; the animals should wait to eat her on the way home when she'll be ""nice and fat."" The woman arrives safely at her granddaughter's and feasts until she is satiated and plump. For safety's sake, the granddaughter suggests that the woman hide in an enormous, hollowed-out pumpkin and roll her way home. The squash suit (and some quick-thinking) serve the woman well, leaving the forest animals with no dinner. Souhami's (The Black Geese) watercolor-and-charcoal compositions--grainy-textured swatches of color, with characters often peeking out from unusual perspectives--give a tale with a familiar feel some snap. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)