Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F. Zia, illustrated by Ken Min
For young Aneel, having his grandparents come live with him is like having built-in playmates, not to mention “… his grandparents’ stories were the best of all. Aneel loved hearing about the faraway village with the green wheat fields and the swaying coconut palms.”
One day, while his grandmother is too busy chanting her Hari Oms, Dada-ji, his grandfather, is happy to tell Aneel about his youthful days of wrestling water buffalo, tying together hissing cobras, and even juggling three elephants! Dada-ji’s strength, of course, came from stacks and stacks of his own mother’s “fluffy-puffy roti” accompanied by her “tongue-burning mango pickle.”
Longing for roti, but unable to convince anyone in the house to make it, Aneel decides he’ll make them himself! Indeed, as his surprised family looks on with encouragement (and hunger), Aneel figures out by roti number 10 how to make the perfect circle for the perfect fluffy puff. And the hot, hot roti for Dada-ji gives both grandfather and grandson all the strength they need to find grand new adventures together.
First time book illustrator Ken Min‘s stylized, angular faces are bursting with expressive energy – check out grinning Dada-ji in his headstand, the startled elephants in mid-air, Aneel’s worried mother as he takes over the kitchen, and Aneel’s own glee as he soars into the blue sky. Zia’s story warmly celebrates the exuberance of imagination, and rewards the tenacity of can-do attitude.
If I had one little, minor, tiny complaint, it might be that a roti recipe would have been much appreciated, especially since Aneel himself makes the process look so possible … and delightfully delicious. Mmm mmmm good indeed!
Tidbit: Talk about internet magic … you can try out Aneel’s roti recipe by clicking here!