Premlata and the Festival of Lights

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9780064420914: Premlata and the Festival of Lights

In Bengal, India, Premlata's family is too poor to celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights, until fate and an elephant step in. By the author of The Diddakoi. Reprint.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 4-6. A tender but slight book that highlights a festival that may not be familiar to most American children. Set in contemporary Bengal, India, this is the story of seven-year-old Premlata and her impoverished family as they attempt to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights in honor of the goddess Kali. There is no money to buy lamps to light up the house for the goddess, so Prem devises a way to attend the mela, or fair, alone and buy the special oil lamps. However, the sights and sounds of the fair are too tempting and she spends her precious coins on treats and presents instead. Frightened and exhausted, she is found and taken home by Bijoy Rai, the honored village landlord. When he coaxes the whole story from Prem, his benevolence saves the day. Premlata is young and amazed at her own daring, but her personality is never fully realized. She is more of a guide to the life and traditions of India than a real-life participant. Readers will certainly learn about her country through this story; it's unlikely that they will come to love it as Godden does. Andrew's precise black-and-white drawings help to personalize the action and clarify many details. An additional purchase for collections with specific multicultural needs.?Beth Tegart, Oneida City Schools, NY
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A tender rags-to-riches tale from Godden (Great Grandfather's House, 1993, etc.), with an Indian setting and universal themes. Premlata cannot believe there will be no deepas--small oil lamps--for Diwali, the festival of lights that honors the goddess Kali. Her widowed mother has sold them--and most of the family's other possessions--to feed Prem and her siblings. At the big house her mother serves, Prem outhaggles the wicked housekeeper, Paru Didi, and is given rupees from the master, Bijoy Rai, to buy new oil lamps. She goes to the market, but is so distracted by sweets, toys, and gifts for her family that all the rupees are gone before she finds the lamp merchant. How Prem gets home safely (with the help of the master's friendly elephant), sees the end of Paru Didi's reign, and helps restore the family's fortunes is but part of this sweetly reassuring holiday story. Illustrated with soft-focus, beautifully detailed black-and-white drawings, the book provides a whirlwind tour of one small corner of Bengal life, and is sure to find an audience ready for any story Godden tells. (Fiction. 7-10) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Godden, Rumer
Published by Harpercollins Childrens Books (1999)
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Rumer Godden, Ian P. Andrew (Illustrator)
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ISBN 10: 0064420914 ISBN 13: 9780064420914
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