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Monkey's Drum by Anitha Moorthy
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Monkey's Drum

by Anitha Moorthy

Other authors: Soumitro Sarkar (Illustrator)

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In this slim picture-book retelling of a traditional South Indian folktale, a clever monkey makes a series of trades, after his visit to a local barber, to have a thorn extracted from his tail, brings unexpected consequences. Demanding the barber's knife, in compensation for his shorn tail, the monkey proceeds to "trade up," eventually winding up with a drum. After each exchange, he adds a little verse to his sing-song refrain: "The tail has gone / The knife has come / Dum dum de dum. / The knife has gone / The wood has come / Dum dum de dum. / The wood is gone / The dosas have come / Dum dum de dum. The dosas has gone / The drum has come / Dum dum de dum."

Published by Tara Books, a Chennai-based Indian publisher specializing in children's and art titles, Monkey's Drum is little less colorful than subsequent titles from this publisher's catalogue - Tara Books is known for their use of homemade papers, and gorgeously colorful tribal artwork - but is still engaging. The black and white artwork by Soumitro Sarkar is expressive - monkey's face is quite a study! - and the text by Anita Moorthy is simple but effective. I do wish that more information about source material had been included, and some sort of discussion of the cultural origins of the tale (other than the generic "South Indian"), but leaving that aside, this is a title I would recommend to young folklore enthusiasts, particularly those with an interest in India. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 17, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anitha Moorthyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sarkar, SoumitroIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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When Monkey gets a thorn in his tail, he asks the village barber to remove it. But oh no! The barber shaves off the tip of poor Monkey's tail. So Monkey wants the barber's knife instead... This delightful traditional South Indian tale of exchange contains verse all young children will love.
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