Book: The Story of Little Babaji

Come and listen to a story about Little Babaji
Who was strolling through the forest in his newest finery
When up came 4 tigers who demanded all his clothes
‘Else they’d eat him in a flash from his head down to his toes

(Took his pants, that is, jacket, shoes and umbrella)

Well the next thing you know, Babaji has lost his threads
He made his way home with a sinking sense of dread
But then he spied the thieves so he hid behind a tree
And the tigers fussed and fought till they melted into ghee

(Made some pancakes from it, ate them all, and fell asleep)

Thank you, Jed Clampett.

Note: Sambo, we hardly knew ya.

Thank goodness for a New York Times Op-Ed piece on Helen Bannerman’s most famous book that piqued a Midwest librarian’s interest and caught the eye of a well-know illustrator who then decided to do some research of his own. Well lo and behold, it turns out the original story wasn’t racist, just the illustrations.

So award-winning artist Fred Marcellino gave the classic a very successful facelift which, when I read it to Nick, completely captured his attention and passed the “read it again” test.

For a little variation, try giving each of the 4 tigers a different voice. Our 4 were menacing, sibilant, haughty, and Yoda-like.

Go figure, right?


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