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Grandma's Great Gourd

November 25, 2016

By: Jo Booth


This grandma rocks & rolls ...

Grandma’s Great Gourd by Literary Safari is an enchanting story about courage and the ability to stay calm when the world spins out of control around you. A story in the great format of encountering tricksters, this folktale from Bengal, teaches about “reading” one’s environment and dealing with the here and now. The graphics are presented in a rich array of images and patterns in an active kinetic collage. Simply put, the app is gorgeous and one where you can begin to feel the beat and rhythm of the countryside of Bengal through its narration and soundtrack.  The verse also contains the repetition of lines encouraging kids to shout out the known phrases. This participation helps bring them actively into the story and become part it – allowing for the emulation and ultimately imitation of admirable characteristics to arise naturally.

We first meet Grandma in a her little village in Bengal on the edge of a deep forest. With her two dogs as companions, she has a happy life and has the most wonderful garden. After receiving a letter from her daughter, she decides to go on a journey through the jungle forest to see her. After all Grandma tells herself, “What’s life without a little adventure?” to help bolster her courage. In the forest, she encounters wild animals – a crafty fox, a stealthy tiger, and a big huge bear, ready to eat her up. Grandma, however, uses her wits and promises them she would be much tastier after being fattened up by her daughter’s wonderful cooking. Each animal agrees in turn, and so Grandma goes onward through the mighty and scary forest. Once at her daughters, she plants a magnificent garden where the vegetables grow big and are in abundance. They feast on them, night after night, and Grandma indeed becomes plump. But alas, after a while, she misses her dogs and her garden at home and decides it is time to return. Having told her daughter of the wild animals and her fear of being eaten, her daughter comes up with a grand plan to save Grandma. What happens? Will Grandma make it back? Does she meet the bear, tiger, and fox? What was the daughter’s plan to save Grandma? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out!

The app contains:

  • a “Read to Me and an Auto Read” mode, both with text highlighting
  • Original score and professional narration by award-winning composer and voice artist Kamala Sankaram.
  • All text is written using the Castledown font, a dyslexic-friendly font that helps to promote reading and writing
  • By scrolling through the app, there are sweet bonuses including 2 games – a mini gardening game and another physics-based game of rolling gourds that help reinforce the story through active participation.
  • The ability to record sound effects and narration, opening the door to new languages or dialects, and for kids the ability to hear the book read in their own voice.
  • A video field trip exploring customs from Bengal that are great for learning centers that include hands on exploration and new ideas for imaginative play.

Literary Safari is committed to presenting diverse cultures by allowing kids to see and experience the world’s citizens as they are in real life in their selected stories. In addition, as mentioned above, Literary Safari has provided kids in Grandma’s Great Gourd with video to take a virtual field trip exploring the taste of food, art, music, language, and clothing of the region. To learn about people in their culture and customs brings an ever expanding understanding and appreciation of others. Coming soon is a parent/teacher guide at grandmasgourd.com. A Teacher’s with Apps Top Pick, and awarded the special TWAs badge of excellence.


This app has been thoroughly evaluated by our staff. Please click on the 'star ratings' tab above, to see how it fared in all nine of our rating categories. See synopsis tab for more details about the storyline. 

This review was originally published by TeachersWithApps.com on November 4, 2016. Teachers With Apps was co-founded by Jayne Clare, a Special Education teacher, and Anne Rachel, an artist and Early Childhood educator. Their goal is to be a credible resource for quality educational apps.

Jo Booth has been an Occupational Therapist for over 30 years, and currently works in Pediatrics with early intervention. She sees kids newly diagnosed on the spectrum as well as medically fragile kids. She loves to move, explore and play everyday; so that “her kids” grow up to be healthy independent learners.

All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.


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Grandma's Great Gourd

November 25, 2016

By: Carisa Kluver

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Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni/Susy Pilgrim Waters


Length (time):
10 - 15 Minutes

Based on non-digital book: No

Allows Own Narration:

Uses Motion: No

Age: 3 - 8 +

English •

Length (pages):
18 Pages


Story Synopsis - Grandma's Great Gourd

From iTunes:

READ: An animated, interactive adventure story rich in gameplay, based on a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2013 children's picture book "Grandma and the Great Gourd: A Bengali Folktale," retold by best-selling author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and vibrantly illustrated by Susy Pilgrim Waters. Story mode features interactive gardening and gourd rolling mini-games, as well as text-highlighting and auto-play mode. 

ROLL: Play a rollicking, physics-based mini-game inspired by the story as you roll Grandma through the forest & unlock powerful gourds of different shapes and sizes! Created with input from STEM educators. 

RECORD: Story and Sound Effects Studios where you can create custom narrations & play with literary elements such as alliteration and onomatopoeia. Your child will love hearing his/her voice in the story and game. Parents, teachers, and grandparents can also use this feature to translate and record the story in another language; a great tool for bilingual homes and classrooms! 

EXPLORE: Take a virtual field trip to South Asia to get a taste of its food, art, music, language, and clothing with our maps and In-App videos! 
- Language: How do you say Grandma around the world?
- Dress: Learn to put on a sari!
- Animals: Meet the wildlife of the Sundarbans Forest
- Art: Discover Alpona, a traditional art form
- Food: Make "Puffed Rice Stars" with Chef Rama Ginde and her little helper!

PLUS: An original music score and voiceover by award-winning composer and voice artist Kamala Sankaram, recognized as "one of "10 cutting edge artists that have captured the imagination" (WQXR) and “strikingly original” (The New York Times).


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Orientation: Landscape

Format: Universal


Home, Roll, Record, Read to Me, Read Myself, PageGuide, Settings (Narration, Sound Effects, Highlighting, Music [On/Off]), Links to: (under parental gate) Web

App Release Date:


Size: 224.02 MB

Version: 1.0

Lite Version Available: No



Grandma's Great Gourd

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