The Susu Pals

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REVIEW

The Susu Pals

By : Sujata Noronha  /  2014

The Susu Pals

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The Susu Pals
Author:
Richa Jha
Illustrator:
Alicia Souza
English
Rs 300.00
ISBN: 978-93-51269-38-0
Snuggle with Picture Books, 
2014
Tags : 
Boys,
Friendship,
Girls,
School,
Overall Rating : 
5
Story/Content : 
2
Illustration : 
3
Language : 
1
Design : 
4

The back cover claims ‘THIS is the COOLEST and CRAZIEST book about BEST PALS IN THE WORLD!’ This is a bold and daring claim. It is also false. The book has some merits but it does not meet its self proclaimed claim by any margin.

As a reader, when one holds a book, the feel is important. The Susu Pals gives you the comfort immediately of a well bound, well crafted product. The weight and the feel are just right. The title intrigues. In publishing in India for children, the word 'susu' is hard pressed to come by. Purists might put the book back on the shelf and find the word inappropriate for a title of a book! But Richa Jha was being bold and was possibly building on a common ‘bonding’ ritual of some young girls who ‘pee’ together and establish bonds of friendship.

The illustrations are a very strong positive part of this book but illustrations need a good storyline to pal up with and that is absent. Disjointed, hard to read sentences, merged with print all over the place, make The Susu Pals a hard to read book for the young reader. Yet the concept and the content are possibly pitched at the young reader. I say possibly, because I think it is a niche gaggle of young readers who might, just might, connect with this book, if they have not read any other. There are engaging visuals and the presence of little animals/ insects/ soft toys with speech bubbles to engage one’s attention but what about the storyline itself? Does a good story need so many visual and verbal distracters?

The theme of friendship is universal, the feelings of being left out when ‘new’ friends appear is also universal, the way this book aims to remind us about this theme is unusual and may not connect or stay with a young reader longer than it takes to explore it and close the cover.

Sujata Noronha is an educator who works with literacy and reading resources and runs an organization called Bookworm in Goa.

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