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The Story of Little Babaji

The Story of Little Babaji

Author: Helen Bannerman

Illustrator: Fred Marcellino

ISBN: 1857141385


Unit study prepared by Michelle Light

history of the book
more on this book and other works or Helen Bannerman

Little Babaji Game

Materials Needed
It is best to print items on cardstock.

Clothing Cards (one set per player)
Game Cards
Game Board
Die (or spinner)
Playing pieces (You can use coins, plastic blocks, playing pieces from another game, or anything else you can think of!  You need one per player.)

Game Instructions
Give each player a set of clothing cards (shoes, coat, umbrella, pants).   Place the set of game cards face down on the board. 

Player one should roll a die and follow instructions on game board (if he draws a card, he should follow those instructions).  Any time he is told to go to the Bazaar, he should move his playing piece to that space (even if it means going back).    The player who makes it to the pancake stack with the most complete outfit wins (so every player should complete the game board). 

Bible and Character

Bibleless People Groups-
There are people who live in India that do not have the Bible written in their language. One of those groups is the Vaderi (Vah der) people of India.   If possible, get a copy of the book from Akebu to Zapotec; it mentions various other groups who also do not yet have a copy of God's Word written in their native language.  It mentions one group per alphabet letter (so, 26 groups in all) including the Vadar and Hrusso of India.  This is a great book to help your student develop a global missions mindset.

Character Study: Manners
Little Babaji uses good manners always saying please and addressing the tigers as “Mr. Tiger.”
Discuss other manners and ways of showing respect.  Practice using these manners this week. 
Give your child praise as you notice him using good manners throughout the week.


Character Bible Study:  Anger, Pride, Quarreling
The Tigers have bad character traits-- anger, quarreling, pride. Here are some scriptures that deal with these issues.


Proverbs 29:11 "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control."

Proverbs:16:18 "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."
Proverbs 8:12 " I (The Lord) hate pride and arrogance."

Arguing & Quarreling

Proverbs 17:14 "Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before dispute breaks out."

Proverbs 17:19 "He who loves a quarrel loves sin."

2 Ti 2:24- "And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel-instead he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful."


Human Relationships: Negotiating
Little Babaji is a skilled negotiator -a quick thinker. He is presented with a problem and able to come up with quick solutions. The tigers even argue points with him, but Babaji is able to effectively argue his point and get the tigers to agree with him.  What things does Little Babaji use to negotiate with the tigers?

What are some other ways we use negotiation in our lives? Peace Treaties, land divisions, gaining privileges, employing ourselves is a form of negotiation. We also negotiate prices in buying homes and automobiles, sometimes even the market place. (It is very common to do this in the Indian marketplace.)

Activity: Have your student draw or trace pictures of a tiger. (Or use a printable, you will need 4 tigers) have her list or draw on the tigers what was given. Example: Tiger 1 -draw a red shirt or write “red shirt” on this tiger. Tiger 2 –etc. Printable Tiger

Geography: India
Locate India on the map or on a globe. Make and place story disk there. India is a country and also a subcontinent of Asia.

Dhaka is the capital of India.  India has more people in population than any other country in the world except for China.  Most people live in cities and towns that are very crowded.

Flag of India Minit Book
India Shutterfold Minit Book by Wende
Outline Map


The Indian subcontinent has three main land divisions- India consists of the Himalayan Mountains that border this country to the north. (This is where Mount Everest is.) See if you can locate it on a map. The lowland plains of the Indus River. Bangladesh is a low-lying land dominated by the delta (mouth) of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers. This is the largest river delta in the world. Also the Deccan plateau of southern India. The land in India consists of mountain regions, desert, jungles, and plateaus most of the country borders the sea. (Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal). Forests (Jungles) cover one-fifth of India and much of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.


Religion plays a vital role in the Indian way of life. India’s traditions are strongly rooted in religion and greatly influence their music, customs, dance, festivals and clothing. About 83% -(four fifths) of the Indian people are Hindu. About 11% are  Muslims. The next largest religious groups are Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains
When many Indians are told of Jesus they readily “accept” him and place a picture of him among their other gods that they worship.  The biggest challenge to missionaries and other Christians is getting the people to realize that there is only one true God. 

Hinduism is unlike Christianity, Islam and Judaism in two important ways. 
First it recognizes several holy books, not just one. Second, many Hindus worship more than one God.


Buddhism is one of the oldest world religions. There are no gods in Buddhism. Unlike many other religions, Buddhism is not based on belief in a supreme creator. Instead, Buddhists respect and worship the Buddah and his teachings.


Both Hinduism and Buddhism believe in reincarnation. (When their body dies their soul will come back to live in another human or animal body.)


Have older students research these religions and their lifestyles. How do they differ from his own beliefs/religion?


Missionaries to India
Your older student may want to research one of the following missionaries to India: Amy Carmichael, Adoniram & Ann Jackson (America’s First Foreign missionaries).  You could also read Hero Tales by Dave and Neta Jackson.


There are over 200 languages spoken in India.



Agriculture- Nearly ¾ of the population make their living from the land. Farming crops of rice, wheat, sugarcane, cotton, tea, rubber, coffee and coconuts and spices are an important crop and are still largely grown by hand throughout the region. (Curry is one spice that was used a lot to hide the smell of spoiled meat.) Because of this the land is very dependent upon the monsoon rains which fall between June and October.


Many of the subcontinents people are poor. Though most of the people live in villages, large cities like Delhi, Kolkata (Clacutta), Chennai (Madras) and Dhaka are growing rapidly.


Industry is rapidly expanding, especially in textiles, food products and modern machinery. Tourism is an important part of the economy especially for India and Nepal.


Mineral/Chemical Elements- Chromium and Iron, and coal. If you have an atlas you can look these up. And explain how they are shown on a map. Introduce Chemical Elements and their symbols-Chromium is CR, Iron is FE, the symbols are usually shown on the maps.


History of India
It is believed that one of the earliest living civilizations developed in the valley of the Indus River more than 4500 years ago. The area was in Northwestern India, but is now a part of Pakistan.
more information 


Social Studies-Occupations:

Mamaji sews (making clothes) this is probably something she also does to earn money for their household.

Papaji-makes brass pots


Social Studies-Cultural dress

Little Babaji’s shirt is long, his pants are short (to the knees) his shoes are pointed.

Clothing worn by Indians varies greatly by region. Members of the various religious groups may also dress differently. Papaji is pictured with a turban (head scarf) and dressed in light colored clothing. His clothing resembles the salwar-kameez.     
Sometimes the trousers are seen to reach just past the knees and at other times they are full length. It is sometimes worn by men and women. This type of suit is often seen in many films that show Asian dress.

(Aladdin, I dream of Jeanie) 
Most women wear a sari (a straight piece of cloth draped around the body as a long dress.) Mamaji is wearing a sari.



Language Arts: Rhyme  
Notice the rhyme in names? Mamaji is long for Mama-Papji for Papa. What do you think Babaji is long for? (Baby)


Language Arts: Repetition
The author uses the element of repetition in the story. Can your child find the lines that are repeated? (And the tiger said “Little Babaji I’m going to eat you up.”) (And Little Babaji said “Please Mr. Tiger don’t eat me up.) (“Very well I won’t eat you this time.”) The story has constant repetition just changing a few words to accommodate changes in articles of clothing.

Can your child think of another story that follows this kind of repetition?

The Three Little Pigs, Three Billy Goats Gruff, Goldilocks and the Three Bears.


Language Arts: Story Title/Other Versions
Ask your child what he thinks of the title. What does he think the story is about? (A boy riding a tiger?) Ask before you read the story and then after. Was the title fitting? If possible read the original version of this story. (Little Black Sambo –there is one version that is beautifully illustrated by Christopher Bing. The original version/illustrations is available online.)   The difference in illustrations is incredible. What does your child think about the title and illustrations of these Little Black Sambo books? Do they like one of them better? Why?


Language Arts: Comprehension
What were the tigers were given in exchange for not eating little Babji?

Tiger 1-red shirt, Tiger 2, blue trousers, Tiger 3 shoes, Tiger 4 Umbrella


Language Arts: Vocabulary
If you have a children’s dictionary, show your child how to look up these words:  bazaar, crimson, trousers, cruel, dispute, wrangle, scramble. 
Prepared Vocabulary Page


Science: Tigers
India is home to different types of tigers. Bengal tigers are well known in this area.  You may want to discuss camouflage with your student-- their colors orange and brown with black stripes help to hide them. When lying in a field of brown grass striped with sun and shadow, they can’t be seen. When another animal comes near enough, the tiger can jump out of hiding at it.
Bengal Tiger Print-Out

Other Tiger Facts
There are five main types of tiger-The Siberian, South Chinese, Sumatran, Indiochinese and Indian. There are fewer than 5,000 tigers in the world today. The Siberian tiger is the largest and can grow to eleven feet long. Tigers usually attack from behind. In Southeast Asia people sometimes wear masks that act as fake faces, on the back of their heads.

You may want to check out the tiger report forms and copywork pages found on Homeschool Share's Animal Forms page.

Science: Research Options

Your older student may enjoy researching some Indian flora and fauna--

Wild and Domesticated Animals of India

Large mammals include the Bengal tiger, the Indian rhinoceros, and the Indian elephant. There are monkeys, crocodiles and snakes such as the Indian cobra and python. The water buffalo used to plow rice fields is the most important domesticated animal.


Jungle Plants
For further studies you can research: bamboo, jasmine, henna, hemp. Sri Lanka has some of the world’s rarest and most beautiful plants, including orchids, hibiscus and poinsettia.


Math: Writing Numbers
Have your younger student write the numbers that you say in the story.
Example: Mamaji-ate twenty seven (your student writes 27).


Math: Addition Story Problems
Have older children add the total number of pancakes that were consumed.
Mamaji ate __________
Papaji ate ___________
How many did Mamaji and Papaji eat together?

(Adding two columns) How many did they all eat together? (Adding three columns)



Art: Shadows
Notice the shadows in many of the illustrations.  Can your student draw something showing shadowing?  Allow your student to choose an object (anything- an apple, a toy, etc.).  Place a light near the object in order to create a shadow...then, ask your student to try to draw the object with its shadow.

Art: Body Language
Note the different illustrations of the tigers.  It's as if you can tell what he is saying or thinking without even knowing what he is saying!  Demonstrate some body language and have your child try to guess what you are saying or meaning.


Resources and Just for Fun

Library List
Sam and the Tigers by Julius Lester
Pancakes For Supper by Anne Isaacs
Pancakes, Pancakes by Eric Carle

Indian Folktales
The Foolish, Timid Rabbit
The Monkey and the Crocodile
How the Turtle Saved
His Own Life
Once a Mouse


Movie Suggestion

Rikki Tikki Tavi


Just for Fun

Have Pancakes for Supper