Harish Johari
& Vatsala Sperling,
How Ganesh Got
His Elephant Head

(Bear & Co, 2003)

How Ganesh Got His Elephant Head is a modern version of the classic folklore story from India. This children's picture book reveals the story behind Ganesh, the Indian god with the elephant head on a human body. It tells how he got the unusual head, but it also relates how he won the contest to become the god that helps the people of Earth.

This book is targeted at ages 6 to 9 and the language is appropriate. I only found one word that I would question being within that range and would have preferred an easier word to be used. Otherwise, it is ideal for this age group. I especially like the "Cast of Characters" page that lists each character with a picture, pronunciation guide and description of their position or duties.

The illustrations are gorgeous. Every second or third page is a full-page watercolor. Several of the other pages have smaller illustrations. All are knockouts. There is a section in the back of the book that explains how these illustrations were created with a nine-step traditional Indian process. The final page is a line drawing of Ganesh that can be copied or traced for children to color.

The authors have included a page for the parents and teachers that breaks down the morals of the story. It will help you to explain the story to your children and compares the story to the modern world.

How Ganesh Got His Elephant Head is a great way to introduce children to the folklore of other countries. The story will thrill children and adults alike. Do not be surprised if you enjoy reading this story as much as your child enjoys hearing it.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 31 July 2004

Buy it from Amazon.com.