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All Robi Dobi the elephant planned to do was make his way home through the storm to his family. But on the way, he meets a series of troubled creatures, each of whom he happily agrees to help. The magnificently magnanimous elephant keeps adding the needy to his troupe until he has a rag-tag bunch rivaling the crew of the Canterbury Tales. Kabbi Wahaabi is the orphaned mouse who has been spray-painted orange. Maya Wishkaya is the dancing butterfly who, in a feat of Icarus-style bravado, has broken her delicate wing. And finally comes the army of green parrots, on a mission to return Princess Tara to her kingdom.
In the course of battling Wicked Purple Panthers, searching for The Tree With the Flexible Glue, finding The Great Painter in the Sky, and taking revenge upon Slimey Kimey the snake-witch, Robi Dobi and company cover a lot of ground. In the process, the animals learn lessons in kindness, teamwork, patience, and taking turns, all drawing on traditional Indian myths and lore.
Madhur Jaffrey, well known for her Indian cookbook writing, uses rich and illustrative language, employing the repetitions and patterns embraced by countless folktales. Amanda Hall's beautifully colored Eastern illustrations reflect the fact that she herself traveled across India--nearly as extensively as Robi Dobi--to research Indian drawing and painting techniques. Hall's gorgeous artwork and Jaffrey's evocative prose vividly trace the pachyderm's philanthropic parade and make for great reading aloud. (Ages 8 and older) [via]