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Sunday, September 29, 2013

"The Elephant's Bathtub" - Frances Carpenter

"The Elephant's Bathtub" - Frances Carpenter

"The Elephant's Bathtub" is a collection of stories from East. They are similar to fairy tales and folk stories that teach morals. I was walking with my son through the children's section at the library (more like trying to keep up with him) and we finally stopped by the fair tale section. I wanted him to get something other than a cook book for once, so I told him to hold on and pick one out. He grabbed one and started off again towards the cds. I quickly scanned the shelves and grabbed one that looked interesting so I could read it to him. Since this book had the word "elephant" in the title it won out. So far I haven't read it to Atticus but have been consumed in it on my own time schedule. 

So far I have only read four stories. "The Elephant's Bathtub" originated from Burma and is a story about two merchants that lived on a river. It's kind of a story where the grass is greener on the other side of the fence story. It's pretty amusing and shows you a little bit into the culture surrounding royalty and the status of elephants. 

"The Fish with Bent Noses" is a story originating from Cambodia. The story has a moral about stealing and the consequences of what happens when you do so. It also has a cute little love story mixed into it between a princess and a suitor. 

"The Shah Weaves a Rug" comes to us from Persia. This story is about a great king who cares enough about his kingdom to see the world through one of his people that lives on the streets. In doing so, he's captured by a mysterious magic man and comes up with a most clever way to save not only himself but the people in his kingdom as well. 

"The Princess in the Camphor Tree" is originated in Malaya. This folk story has a little more complicated meaning to it. It's about sons who go into the woods as gathers and the youngest meets a princess of a different species. You could call her a tree spirit or something similar. He marries her, but the ending is not so happy because of one bad choice he was forced to make. 

There are a total of 24 short stories in this book, and so far they are quite enjoyable. It is an easy read (obviously being from the children's section) but I am learning about the culture through the way these stories are told. To me, this is one of the more interesting sets of tales I've read because they are pretty different than the typical tales I heard growing up as an American child. I also have a soft spot for learning about cultures, so this fulfills that as well. :) I'll continue to read this book, and highly suggest it to anyone, not just people with children.