Friday, July 15, 2022

Today's read... Bakaasur: The Ice Cream (Maker) Monster by Deven Jatkar

 We've been melting in above average temperatures since early June, which means I've hauled out our ice cream maker to ensure extra treats (which don't heat up the kitchen). So, when I saw today's read, it caught my attention. This one takes place in India...I never really thought about India and ice cream makers, but no reason not to...and promises a bit of mythology as well as...well...ice cream! And monsters?

Let's just take a peek, all right?



BAKAASUR
THE ICE CREAM MAKER MONSTER
by Deven Jatkar
Monkey Mantra
Picture Book
46 pages
ages 4 to 8



On a hot summer afternoon in India, seven cousins battle their arch enemy Bakaasaur ( buck - aah - soor ) for a pot of cold, delicious ice cream. Will the cousins triumph over Bakaasur and enjoy the spoils of their labor, or will Bakaasur's terror reign supreme?


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MY TIDBITS

Ice cream hits mythology and monstrous fun in an unique adventure, which gives an entire new meaning to ice cream machines.

It's Baba's birthday, but the hot temperatures have the seven cousins sitting around with little excitement and not much to do. When Baba declares it's time to make ice cream, the cousins go into hiding. They love ice cream, but Baba's ice cream maker holds horrors beyond cool treats. Soon, the cousins find themselves fetching the things needed to feed Bakaasaur, the name they've given to the ice cream machine, since it's as demanding as the mythological monster, who ate not only a villages food but one person every week. 

This picture book heads to the slightly older end of the suggested audience and holds a bit of tension—and more than a little humor—as it tells the tale of an ice cream machine. Before the reader meets the cousins and the machine, the author introduces the myth of Bakassaur in a quick but very understandable (and interesting), short story. This perfectly sets the scene before the story starts.

Readers, who have seen an ice cream machine in motion before, will connect with this tale well, while others will hit a more touch-and-go experience. I do see this as a wonderful book to lead into or follow a group project with an ice cream machine (and get a cool treat in the process!). For those, who haven't seen one of these machines themselves, the author does make it very clear how it works. After all, it's the constant 'feeding' and churning, which builds the monstrous fun in this read. There is a bit of panicked tension, but mostly, there's humor, and together, these make an interesting mix.

The illustrations are well done and add to the atmosphere, letting the ice cream machine shine in its monster-ness. But it's the visuals of the culture and daily life, which add the depth. The illustrations allow readers to 'see' how the cousins live, and while they head out to fetch the ingredients, the buildings, people, traffic, and details become clear. The cousins even fetch ice blocks, instead of our usual ice cubes. All of this along with the tension, mythology, and humor, make it a nice read-aloud with a very unique twist.

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