From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3-- In a variation on the perennial theme of finding Heaven in one's own backyard, four Indian villagers decide to emigrate to Paradise via a flying elephant. Landing in the dark, the potter, spice seller, weaver, and gardener are struck by the possibilities of the place: its clay, spices, dye-berries, and plants. Discovering that they are still in their own local garden, they conclude that Paradise is simply where "everything they longed for could be found if only they looked for it." Although the theme is admirable, its formulation here is predictable and trite. The considerable differences between the ideal one longs for and the real one may obtain are entirely glossed over. Although the story is set in rural India, one suspects that its situation--living in a paradise of abundance and unrealized potential--is far more a reflection of Western cultural attitudes, and nothing here helps young readers to see a parallel. The naive, colorful collage illustrations are bright but not memorable. --Patricia Dooley, Univ . of Washington, Seattle
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