Once Upon a Feast
Fatema Barot Mota
age group: 
7+ yrs
Number of pages: 
Goa festivals places of worship around India
picture book, realistic fiction

This story set in Velim, a tiny little village in Goa will give children from other parts of India glimpse into the culture, food and lifestyle of the region and at the same time will instill a sense of pride in the children of that region as it is about their lives, their cuisine and their culture.

Aquina has a dog, Brownie who accompanies her and her mother to church every morning and loves to sing along with the choir, to the amusement of Caetan, the sacristan of the church and to the consternation of others.

One day, Aquina is invited to help clean the church and is given the all-important task of dusting the statue of St Francis Xavier. Aquina is thrilled and does her job diligently, only later to realize that she had forgotten to replace the stick that the saint held in his hand.
She rushes to church the next morning, however, the congregation had already assembled. 
How will she place the stick back without being noticed?
This dilemma could be the experience of any child who has been given a job to do and is anxious and nervous about real or perceived slip-ups.

The soft gentle lines of the illustrations add a gentle appeal to the book.

Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee