Review: Six Books

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FROM THE BOOK REVIEW ARCHIVES

Review: Six Books

By : Vidya Ashok
1.
Siri's Smile

Siri's Smile

Author:
R. Amarendran
Illustrator:
Bhakti Phatak
Tulika Publishers, 
2011
2.
The Mystery Of Blue

The Mystery Of Blue

Author:
Muriel Kakani
Illustrator:
Boski Jain
Tulika Publishers, 
2011
3.
Pintoo and the Giant

Pintoo and the Giant

Author:
Sulabha R. Devpurkar
Illustrator:
Ashwin Chikerur
Tulika Publishers, 
2011
4.
The Lonely King and Queen

The Lonely King and Queen

Author:
Deepa Balsavar
Illustrator:
Deepa Balsavar
Tulika Publishers, 
2011
5.
Aunty Mouse: A Traditional Tale From Bhutan Retold
6.
Room In Your Heart

Room In Your Heart

Author:
Kunzang Choden
Illustrator:
Pema Tshering
Young Zubaan, 
2011

Siri’s Smile by R. Aramendran is well laid out for three plus. The very fact that the book has more pictures with lots of colour and less text will catch a young mind’s attention. The rhyming sentences too add to the delight of reading. It is also interesting to see, how the author connects environment and nature to the child who seems to be searching for her lost smile, hereby also teaching some basic concepts about nature to the reader. For example, the hot and shiny sun, the waxing and waning of moon, will be easily understood by the child. The cover and title of the book are also apt.

The book is a good read and will prompt the young inquisitive reader to put questions across to know more. It is bound to bring a big smile on a little face.

What comes to your mind when you think of colours….. Liveliness, energy, dynamism. We all know what magic colours do. They add zing to an otherwise boring and mundane life. They instantly transform a boring book into an interesting one. But, have you ever wondered about the enormous varieties of colours?

The book by Muriel Kakani brings out the spirit and diversity of colours  and is about the search for making one such colour—the colour ‘Blue’. The story is set in a village in Karnataka and revolves around a young girl named Kunku, who lives amidst dyers and weavers. She is enthralled by the colour ‘Blue’ which she notices  in the band around the neck of her pigeon, Chandrakali. In her village, she has seen all colours being made with vegetables, fruits or flowers—Bright Red , Blazing Yellow , Soft Pink….but she had never seen a ‘Blue’ being made. It is her quest to know the secret behind the Blue colour, which makes her send her beloved pigeon to Kashi to find out more.

The Mystery Of Blue definitely manages to keep the reader glued to the book. The thoughts—Will Kunku succeed in making the colour which no one in her village has so far made? Will Chandrakali unravel the ‘Mystery of Blue’?—will make you flip the pages with fervour. The colourful, bright illustrations also beautifully complement the storyline.

Pintoo and the Giant: A Modern Fairytale which does not claim to be in the genre of moral stories, will touch the heart of the children as it is a modern fairytale. A child will immediately relate to the bubbly Pintoo, the main character of the story, as all children have vivid imagination. There are no boundaries. Sky is the limit for the fantasies a young mind can weave. Most of us in our childhood would have let our imagination go wild and made a monster out of a shadow. Pintoo walks through a field during sunset and comes face to face with a giant. Now it is for the reader to find out whether the giant is a concoction of Pintoo’s wild imagination or is in reality a monster that wants to eat up Pintoo. An entertaining book with illustrations complementing the vivacious storyline. Worth adding to your fairytale collections.

The Lonely King and Queen is a story of a King and a Queen, surprisingly to whom one can instantly connect. They are illustrated in the book not glamorously but as a normal people and who despite having lots of friends are still facing loneliness in their lives.  And one fine day they hear a voice calling out to them. Then the interesting part i.e,  the SEARCH for the voice begins. Here comes gentle humour in the story, when the King and Queen search for the voice behind the cushions and under the leaves of a plant in the pot.

The message that adoption can complete a family and cause great happiness to a lonely couple is subtly communicated. And those who are not looking for a message can simply enjoy the colourful illustrations with each sentence of the story that prompts one and all to jump out and enact it out to children.  

Aunty Mouse, a delightful folktale from Bhutan retold by Kunzang Choden and illustrated by Pema Tshering, is a story of a young, poor and orphan girl, Tashi Doma, who finds unexpected things happening when she chases her lunch box which rolls down the mountainside and stops right into a mouse hole and is befriended by its charming occupant, Aunty Mouse. Aunty Mouse invites her inside the hole  to have dinner. Aunty Mouse finds Tashi a simple and well-mannered girl and gifts her precious jewels and wonderful clothes. A rich, spoilt girl from Tashi’s village learning from Tashi that Aunty Mouse gifted clothes and jewels to her, tries to repeat the same experience and to her astonishment finds everything opposite happening to her! She cannot understand why Aunty Mouse was so kind to Tashi Doma and not to her. The book is well designed making it easy to read.  

My seven-year-old daughter read Room In Your Heart and asked me, ‘Mummy, how can so many people get into one small room?’  thereby giving me a chance to explain to her about values such as  generosity, magnanimity, open-heartedness. On reading this book, children might not really understand the deep meaning lying within but will definitely be prompted to ask a few questions which can be appropriately utilized by you to try teaching and instilling in them a few values.  The story stimulates the thinking process of the child. It leads a child to explore his/her imagination skills as the child thinks of a small room slowly getting filled up with people one by one.

Good illustrations and repetitive sentences make the book an interesting read for children.

Vidya Ashok is a teacher at Salwan Public School, Mayur Vihar, New Delhi.