Ganesha’s Great Race

Chronicle. Oct. 2023. 52p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781797224855.
K-Gr 3–The Hindu gods Shiva and Parvati live on the tallest mountain in India and have two sons. The eldest is Kartikeya, the god of war, and the youngest is Ganesha, who is known as the god of beginnings and the Remover of Obstacles. As one would expect, the brothers play with one another, but also fight and compete. One day, the two happen upon a huge mango that is magical; their parents explain that it can’t be shared but has to be won. Kartikeya challenges Ganesha to a race around the world and immediately jumps on his magical peacock and is off. After much brainstorming, procrastinating, and finally tears, Ganesha confides in his father that he knows he will be unable to beat Kartikeya. Shiva reminds Ganesha that he isn’t known as the Remover of Obstacles for nothing, and soon the young god realizes that his “world” is not the Earth, but instead his two parents. He quickly runs around them and is declared the winner. After initially being outraged, Kartikeya’s good humor is restored, and he acknowledges that this time “the mind is mightier than muscle.” There is humor peppered throughout, and children will relate to the sibling rivalry and the frustration Ganesha feels when he can’t figure out how to win the competition. While the text is more verbose than many picture books, the range of vocabulary words and the accessibility of this Hindu legend more than make up for it.
VERDICT Another beautifully illustrated book on the Hindu gods by Patel and Haynes (Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth) that is gorgeously rendered with warm colors and adorable facial expressions on the young gods. Recommended for purchase.

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