Cover image for The sanyasin's first day
The sanyasin's first day
Shank, Ned.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Describes the first day of work for several different people including a holy man, a farmer, a plumber, and a policeman, many of whom end up interacting with one another in the course of the day.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.9 0.5 2851.
Geographic Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
X Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

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It is the sanyasin's first day. He has given away everything he owns to become a holy man. All he asks for, as he begins his new life of prayer, is some rice for his dinner....As it happens, it is also the first day on the job for the plumber, the traffic policeman, and the farmer. Like the sanyasin, they too ask only for the chance to do their jobs well. One by one they accomplish what they set out to do, helping others and being helped in return. By the end of this special day in India, each is satisfied and grateful for his or her good fortune. Each has also, without knowing it, brought good fortune to the sanyasin, who, of course, has just enough rice to fill his bowl!

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. A man in India gives away everything he owns to lead the holy life of a sanyasin, to do nothing but pray and walk from town to town. The first double-page spread shows him seated in a busy city thoroughfare, begging for just enough rice to fill his bowl. Women in bright saris walk past him. School children giggle and run off. Then, an anxious plumber succeeds on her first day at work, as does a nervous, new traffic policeman; and a farmer takes her first load to sell in town. As in a six-degrees-of-separation story, the lives of these individuals intersect and touch other lives, until a child fills the holy man's bowl, answering the man's prayers at the end of his first day. Both the lively text and Stock's bright watercolor street scenes are packed with clear details--people, animals, autorickshaws, bicycles, oxcarts, even someone on an elephant--expressing the vitality of the crowd and also the fragile interpersonal connections that answer the sanyasin's prayer. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

In a bustling town in contemporary India, a handful of adults face their "first day" in their chosen pursuits. The title character, who has just "given away everything he owned to lead the holy life of a sanyasin," sits under a tree with an empty bowl, and hopes that someone will fill it. On her first day as a plumber, a woman arrives at Mrs. Krishnan's house, anxious to do a good job installing a new kitchen sink. There is also a rookie traffic cop, and a farmer bringing rice to town for the first time. Shank, himself a first-time author (and the husband of Crescent Dragonwagon), brings some of these characters into contact with one another: the policeman tells the farmer where to sell her rice; the farmer's first customer is Mrs. Krishnan. The rookies make mistakes, but the mistakes prove advantageous. For example, the faucet of Mrs. Krishan's new sink fills her rice pot too rapidly, and as the plumber adjusts the water pressure, Mrs. Krishnan simply makes extra rice, which she brings to her son at school; her son later gives his leftover rice to the sanyasin. The story feels contrived and takes too long to get moving, but the atmosphere is vivid and may compensate for the abstract plot. Stock (Emma's Dragon Hunt), too, is more effective with her panoramas and exotic street scenes than with her portraits of individuals. Ages 5-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Gr 1-3-It is the first day in their chosen vocations for a sanyasin (holy man), a female plumber, a traffic policeman, and a female farmer in modern-day India. Each will be happy by day's end, their lives unknowingly woven together by Mrs. Krishnan, who hires the plumber to fix her sink, buys the farmer's rice at the market, feeds some to the plumber, and takes some to her son at school. The boy, in turn, puts a helping in the sanyasin's bowl. The traffic policeman directs them all as they make their way through the bustling town. The plot is contrived and somewhat inauthentic; it would be unusual to find a female plumber, a pleasant traffic cop, and Indians who line up rather than swarm around a rice seller. Nevertheless, the author's rich detail, whether describing the traffic policeman's uniform or the bustling market, its stalls filled with "...limes, chilies, mangoes...spatulas and rice cookers," gives an intimate look at another culture. The narrative is matched by Stock's bright, busy watercolors that invite readers to find the people and objects described in the text.-Diane S. Marton, Arlington County Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.