Lowji Discovers America is a fun book with a great message. It’s also one of 2008’s Children’s Sequoyah Masterlist reads. Author Candace Fleming tells Lowji’s story in a great first-person voice that will doubtless have young readers rolling in the aisles as the hero tries to figure out how things are done in his new country, and tries to figure out a way to get a pet.
The author captures a lot of the accent Lowji would have in his speech after so recently coming from Bombay, India, and she gives him great parents. Ma is very strict and loving, but Bape seems to have an incurable love of puns that is just painful to read. My son loved them!
I loved how Lowji had a notion of what America would be like after living in crowded Bombay all his life, then was heartened and disappointed at the same time. He thought things would be vastly different, but they really aren’t at first.
The disappointment over not getting to have a pet quickly shifts gears to Lowji trying to figure out a way to get one anyhow. The author’s digs at the common backdrop of American culture, especially in the giant store ALL-MART, was terrific.
There are a lot of episodes that continually build Lowji’s story. I felt his sadness when the bird, Tippy, deserted him for the other kids in the store. But I was laughing aloud with my son when the pig, Blossom, nearly has a heat stroke and Lowji saves her by bringing her into the store. This is exactly the kind of thing my kid would do, and it just proves that kids speak the same language more than adults do.
I also loved how Lowji constantly talked Landlady Crisp into getting animals to do her work for her. The cat is brought in to handle the mice. The dog is brought in to handle security. And the goats are brought in to handle the lawn care. This is all very Tom Sawyerish and works well.
However, parents might not find the burping contest and squirting milk out of one nostril quite so funny. My son, of course, thought they were tremendous.
Lowji Discovers America delivers a familiar and humorous story in an accent that will probably be new to most young readers. There’s also a lot of information regarding Indian culture. If you’re working on the Sequoyah list with your child, this novel should definitely be one of those you pick up – especially if your child is a boy!