Pattan’s Pumpkin

Written by Chitra Sounder
Illustrated by Frané Lessac

Great flood stories, as well as new beginning stories, are almost universally present in cultures throughout the world. This great twist on the flood comes directly from the Irula people of southern India.

In this version, a man named Pattan is growing a pumpkin, which turns out to be so large that even the elephants can’t see over the top. The original story had a bottle gourd, but the author changed it to the more familiar pumpkin. When the rains begin, Pattan harvests the pumpkin and hollows it out with the help of his wife, Kanni, and all the animals. They ride inside the pumpkin as a sort of ark, along with grain, seeds and herbs. Kanni sings lullabies to the baby animals to soothe and help pass the time. When the rain stops, they come to rest on the plains. The Irula people trace their ancestry to Pattan and Kanni, They still raise pumpkins to this day.

The author has deep roots in India and brings that flavor to the story. The illustrations have a folk art feel that goes well with this legend.

This is a great text for exploration of cultures in a classroom or just as a bedtime story to think about how other cultures might tell the story of Noah.

  • Pattans PumpkinTitle: Pattan’s Pumpkin
  • Author: Chitra Sounder
  • Illustrator: Frané Lessac
  • Published: Candlewick Press, 2017
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 32 pages
  • Grade Level: PreK to 3
  • Genre: Folk legend
  • ISBN: 978-0-7636-9274-2

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