From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3—A fluid retelling of a traditional folktale. A good-hearted barber, who sets up his business under a tree "in a small village in Bengal," does not like to charge customers who are down on their luck. His angry wife finally tells him not to return home without money. He goes to the next village and spends the night under a tree, where he encounters a ghost who threatens to eat him. The barber holds up a mirror and scares the ghost into bringing him a pot of gold and building a house filled with rice. When the ghost's uncle appears, the clever barber manages to frighten him with the same trick and ends up with a second building filled with rice and more gold. At the end, the man is back under his village tree with enough riches to share, surrounded by people who tell him stories while he trims their beards or cuts their hair. Digitally created illustrations in solid colors are printed on fabric, lending texture and depth to the artwork. The ghosts' whimsical facial expressions effectively show their gullibility, and the background colors shine through their bodies to emphasize their ethereal nature. However, the depiction of a generic Indian background in the outdoor scenes misses the opportunity to showcase Bengal-specific details of setting or clothes. A background note includes sources.—Monika Schroeder, American Embassy School Library, New Delhi, India
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