The Story of Little Babaji by Helen Bannerman

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Born in Edinburgh in 1863, Helen Bannerman lived in India for thirty years. As a gift for her two little girls, she wrote and illustrated The Story of Little Black Sambo(1899), a story that clearly takes place in India (with its tigers and "ghi," or melted butter), even though the names she gave her characters belie that setting. For this new edition of Bannerman's much beloved tale, the little boy, his mother, and his father have all been given authentic Indian names: Babaji, Mamaji, and Dadaji. And Fred Marcellino's illustrations'lively and lavish'are unmistakably Indian in every detail. The Story of Little Babaji:an old favorite is lovingly, memorably transformed.

1996 Children's Books (NY Public Library)
Notable 1997 Childrens' Trade Books in Social Studies (NCSS/CBC)
1997 Editor's Choice (Booklist)
Booklist Notable Children's Books of 1997
‘Lasting Connections of 1996' Book Links


About Helen Bannerman

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Helen Bannerman (1862-1946) was the Scottish author of a number of children's books, the most notable being Little Black Sambo. She was born in Edinburgh and, because women were not admitted as students into British Universities, she sat external examinations set by the University of St. Andrews and attained the qualification of LLA. She lived a good proportion of her life in India where her husband William Bannerman was an officer in the Indian Medical Service, including 32 years in Madras. Fred Marcellino's picture books include Puss in Boots, a Caldecott Honor Book; The Steadfast Tin Soldier, an ALA Booklist Children's Editors' Choice; and The Pelican Chorus, one of School Library Journal's Best Books of the Year.His most recent books, The Story of Little Babaji and Ouch! are both ALA Notable Children's Books.Dancing By the Light of the Moon: The Art of Fred Marcellino will open on November 9, 2002 and run through January 26, 2003 at The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. This is a comprehensive show of more than 150 pieces highlighting his children's book career, and the first museum retrospective honoring the artistic accomplishments of this remarkable artist. For more information visit, The Norman Rockwell Museum website.
Published August 30, 1996 by HarperCollins. 72 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Fiction

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Little Babaji, looking like a glossy teak marionette, faces a succession of huge, luxuriously supple tigers whose eventual meltdown provides him, Papaji, and sari-clad Mamaji with a supper of pancakes--and ``Little Babaji ate a Hundred and Sixty-Nine, because he was so hungry.'' Offered in a squa...

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Publishers Weekly

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Unlike the vain tigers of Marcellino's The Story of Little Babaji or the somewhat simple-minded tigers, as characterized by Jerry Pinkney in Julius Lester's Sam and the Tigers , Bing's villains are ferocious, often towering above Little Black Sambo or tugging at the boy's pants with bared teeth.

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Publishers Weekly

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He loses his fine clothing piece by piece to a succession of tigers, but triumphs when the egotistical creatures chase one another around a tree until they all melt into butter.

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Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman is a book that has been called racist, been challenged by thousands, and even inspired the bankruptcy of a series of restaurants called 'Sambo's."

Oct 25 2010 | Read Full Review of The Story of Little Babaji

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