Thursday, March 5, 2020

Review: Feast of Peas

Title: Feast of Peas
Author: Kashmira Sheth
Illustrator: Jeffrey Ebbeler
Publisher: Peachtree
Format: Picture book
Review copy: Provided by publisher
Availability: On shelves now

Summary: Hard-working Jiva might not be the only one anticipating a delicious feast of peas from his garden.

Every morning, Jiva works in his garden until the sun turns as red as a bride's sari. He plants peas and beans, potatoes and tomatoes, eggplants and okra in his vegetable patch. When his friend Ruvji admires his plants Jiva sings,

Plump peas, sweet peas
Lined- up-in-the-shell peas. 
Peas to munch, peas to crunch 
I want a feast of peas for lunch.

But each time Jiva is ready to pick the peas for his feast, they're already gone. What has happened? 

From the award-winning author and illustrator team who created Tiger in My Soup, this original story set in India features a deliciously amusing mystery about gardening, anticipation, hard work, and generosity.

Review: Peas were never my favorite when I was growing up, but if this book had existed then, perhaps my opinion would have been more favorable. Jiva and Ruvji could likely convince most anyone that peas are one of the best foods in existence. Jiva rhapsodizes about them repeatedly in his song and Ruvji continues to makes eyes at the peas and repeat that "peas are delicious."

The story is a bit of a trickster tale and will be a delight for readers of all ages. The peas are the treasure Jiva and Ruvji would both like to enjoy, but things do not go as planned for either of the friends. Between the text and especially the vivid and lively illustrations, readers can collect clues and make some inferences about the mystery.

Those peas must have looked spectacular because both of the friends kept smacking their lips. Quite honestly, I love that phrase. It has a smacking sound to it and is super fun to read aloud as is Jiva's bouncy song.

The illustrations provide an abundance of information for the story with the setting, but also with the animals. Young readers will have a great time finding a wide variety of critters throughout and the ghost is especially fun. The ghost is slightly creepy, but not too scary since it has a sense of humor and performs a fanciful dance.

Recommendation: This is another wonderful tale from Kashmira Sheth and I'm excited to add it to our library. It will be a humorous and engaging read aloud and I'd recommend it highly for any library serving young readers. It would also be perfect for any home library. Feast of Peas would be great paired with Tiger in My Soup or any number of books featuring gardens and animals like If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson or Ka's Garden/Kab Lub Vaj by Maggie McHugh and Dr. Bee Lo.

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