“A memorable folklore-like tale set in India about friendship, trickery, and forgiveness.”
Jiva loves peas and busily attends to his garden, faithfully watching it grow. His friend, Ruvji, also loves peas. He happens to be around each time Jiva announces his next crop of peas will be ready in the morning. But when Jiva goes to the garden to pick the peas, they are already gone. Ruvji first suggests it might be the rabbits, but the second time the peas go missing, he suggests it’s actually a ghost. As he suggests a ghost, Ebbeler does a wonderful job of making Ruvji appear as a ghost himself, partially hidden behind a scarecrow’s clothing. This clever foreshadowing comes just when readers might be starting to figure out what’s really happening to Jiva’s peas. When the peas are ready a third time, Jiva catches Ruvji stealing them and demands repayment from his friend. When Ruvji repays Jiva with a delicious feast of peas, Jiva shares it with his repentant friend—though Ebbeler cleverly implies on the final page that the story might just repeat itself with the tomatoes and eggplants in Jiva’s garden that are now ripe and ready to eat. Sheth weaves a clever tale that’s just predictable enough to be fun. Ebbeler shines most in depicting Jiva the scarecrow chasing his friend Ruvji the ghost.
The illustrations in this book cleverly foreshadow what will happen later in the story. What examples of foreshadowing can you find in the illustrations?
Jiva likes his peas prepared in all sorts of different ways, like in soup and wrapped in potato. Trying nutritious foods prepared in different ways can help us expand our tastes. Perhaps you and your young reader can find a pea recipe that sounds interesting to try.
Kashmira Sheth was born in India and came to the US when she was seventeen to attend Iowa State University, where she received a BS in microbiology. She is the author of several picture books, middle grade, and young adult novels. Sheth teaches at Pine Manor College, in their Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program.