Category Archives: Childrens’ Book Review

Book Review: And The Ocean Was Our Sky

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Author: Patrick Ness
Illustrator: Rovina Cai
Publisher: Walker Books
ISBN-13: 978-1406383560

 

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With harpoons strapped to their backs, the proud whales of Bathsheba’s pod live for the hunt, fighting in the ongoing war against the world of men. When they attack a ship bobbing on the surface of the Abyss, they expect to find easy prey. Instead, they find the trail of a myth, a monster, perhaps the devil himself…

As their relentless Captain leads the chase, they embark on a final, vengeful hunt, one that will forever change the worlds of both whales and men.
 
 
MY TAKE
 

Interesting and unique, this one is told from the point of view of a whale and reflects not only the animosity they have towards humans who according to them live in the abyss and are out to hunt and kill them mercilessly, but also tells how they (whales) too are drawn into that something called a prophecy. The thinker among them may deny the same as superstition, but his voice is drowned by the majority who think otherwise. Does that ring a bell? So very like human nature.

The journey deep in the ocean bed, along-with Bathsheba’s pod which incidentally is on a hunting expedition, is a psychological expedition of sorts, where we see the test of endurance battle with emotions like fear, jealousy, anger, empathy, horror and vengeance. The trail of the unknown coupled with the hunt for the same adds a touch of mystery to the story. However, it’s the preparedness of the whales that are out to hunt, that comes as a surprise. With harpoons strapped to their back and a ship in tow to collect their bounty, they swim across the vast ocean relentlessly in search of their sworn enemies, and when they encounter them they are ruthless.

Tough the beginning half of the story is a bit dry and confusing; the second half turns out to be engaging. The climax sees some action and ultimately closes with a message of sorts.

The illustrations do justice to the narrative and are in fact the highlight of the story. They make the reader’s job easier. Without them it would have been a little difficult to actually comprehend the story, especially the beginning half, and without getting a clear picture of the same it would have near impossible to appreciate the latter half.

Overall a nice read, I’ll give this one a three on a scale of five.


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Buy the book @ amazon.in

Disclaimer: An review copy of the book was provided via Penguin Random House India in exchange for an honest review. The Thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are therefore, my own and have not been influenced by either the author or the publishing house in any manner.

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Children’s Book Review: The Globetrotters

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TITLE: The Globetrotters
AUTHOR: Arefa Tehsin
ILLUSTRATOR: Nafisa Nandini Crishna
PUBLISHER: Puffin (27 June 2018)
TARGET GROUP: 9-11 years
FORMAT: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0143441960

A bully needs a prey to satisfy his ego, but what happens if the bully himself falls prey to his own doings. Well, the story of Hudhud a mean and nasty little boy, imparts some truly meaningful lessons not only in terms of empathy and love, but also regarding different living forms that are very much a part of Planet Earth.

Children are prone to playing pranks. So what’s wrong with Hudhud? Harmless pranks are a big ‘no’ as far as Hudhud is concerned. The headache of his classmates, teachers and innocent creatures too, Hudhud learns some eye-opening lessons ‘the hard way’ when his strange new history teacher visits him on the night Sameer his classmate and a victim of his insensitivity, goes missing. Cursed and left alone to fend for himself Hudhud must find answers to all wrongs and for that he must roam the vast earth in the form of some of the greatest migratory beings.

Setting out as a blue whale calf separated from his mother in the deep ocean; as a trusting caterpillar who befriends a hunting spider; as a competitive caribou on a perilous trek; as an Arctic tern too scared to fly . . . But fly across the world he must, if he hopes to ever return home, Hudhud’s surreal journey takes him across the globe where he encounters some truly majestic species, comes face to face with danger and death, learns to differentiate between friend and foe and understands the meaning of empathy and love.

Interesting and engaging, The Globetrotters is a remarkable tribute to those innumerable species that inhabit the sky, land and waters of earth. What stands out as one moves from story to story in this vast amount of information that’s packed in just 197 pages which also see some wonderful illustrations put in. This speaks volumes of the author’s knowledge and language skills.

Reading the book is like going on a safari where one comes face to face with the marvels of the oceans, the desert and the poles. Each story imparts a life lesson and at the same time helps the young reader understand the characters (life form) involved in the same, their habitat, mannerisms, food habits, etc. The imagery takes us on the arduous trek/ travel undertaken by them (mainly the mighty migratory creatures) and gives us an insight into their stamina and determination.

What does the adult reader take away from the book?

The joy of reliving childhood years!

The book offers the adult reader a trip down memory lane, a revisit to those classroom sessions made enjoyable and lovely with some lively role plays, amazing textbooks and equally amazing teachers who even without the internet or all the tech- tools available today, made learning a wonderful experience. One also has the advantage of carrying away bits of information that may have not been available in those days.

The language is crisp and lucid. The illustrations compliment the content and the style of writing is amazing. Each story is testimony to the fact that the author Arefa Tehsin, is truly a globetrotter and a wonderful story-teller. ‘The Globetrotters’ also voices the author’s concern regarding the steady deterioration of the health of land, water and air on Planet Earth.

The icing on the cake (read ‘story’)

The twist at the end. Loved it.

VERDICT

A book for both the young and old alike, with the power to make you sit upright.


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Buy the book @ amazon.in II flipkartAUTHOR

AREFA TEHSIN

Visit Arefa’s author profile @ Goodreads to get an insight into the person, author, traveler in her.

Other Books by the Author



Children’s Book Review: Thatha at School by Richa Jha and Gautam Benegal

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TITLE:Thatha at School
AUTHOR: Richa Jha
ILLUSTRATOR: Gautam Benegal
PUBLISHER: Pickle Yolk Books
ISBN: 978-9351269403

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It is Grandparents Day at school. Everyone in grade 2A, except Oviyam, is excited. She doesn’t want her dhoti-wearing Thatha (grandpa) accompanying her to school; her friends will laugh at him, for sure. After all, the traditional dhotis don’t look as smart as pants do, do they? Oviyam must find a way to prevent Thatha from going to school. Read this funny endearing story of Oviyam’s embarrassment, her insecurities, and her finally dispelling the demons in her mind.

MY TAKE

Oviyam’s dilemma at having Thatha over at school on Grandparent’s Day, is described beautifully. Apprehension, anger and finally pride, emotions in stark contrast to each other, are described beautifully literally taking readers on a tour of the little one’s mind and help them live her dilemma.

The illustrations though simple convey the story in subtle shades, giving the little minds enough food for thought, food to help them yarn a story of their own too.

The book is not only entertaining but inspiring too.


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Book Review: Boo! When My Sister Died

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TITLE: Boo! When My Sister Died
AUTHORS: Richa Jha and Gautam Benegal
PUBLISHER: Pickle Yolk Books
GENRE: Children’s Literature (Fiction)
ISBN: 978-9352678136

THE BOOK

The title says it all.

‘Boo! When My Sister Died’ is a touching story revolving around Noorie the protagonist who’s sister Zoya dies leaving her lonely and lost. No amount of consoling and cajoling can help her come to terms with the absence of the one who was her world, that is until something happens. To know what happened, do read the book.

Evocative, the book unravels the tender feelings of a child for her sibling, her sense of loss, her irritation at being given at what she perceives as false hopes by her mother when she says Zoya is around, her exasperation on coming face to face with Zoya’s friend Dhara and her sense of despair on realizing that death may knock at will on their door, and take away another of her beloved.

The pictures in water colour and wash style with somber digital crosshatch, convey the emotions attached to the dark and bright side of life brilliantly. There are times when they convey a sense of sadness and grief and there are times when they reveal the warmth and bonding between the siblings. The pictures in fact speak for themselves. They communicate the uncertainty of life as well as the message of hope and acceptance of the inevitable, in an exceptionally clever style.

VERDICT

A simple story with a strong message conveyed with ease and brilliance. A must read for children of 6+ years.


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Children’s Book Review: Dance of the Wild

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TITLE: Dance of the Wild
AUTHOR: Richa Jha
ILLUSTRATOR: Ruchi Mhasane
PUBLISHER: Pickle Yolk Books
ISBN: 978-9352792276
 
 
THE BOOK
 
 
COVER DESIGN
 
 
Done in subtle shades, the cover gives us an idea of what to expect within it.
 


 
 
WITHIN THE COVERS
 
 
The story of little Shilu a wild yet lovable little girl, and her desire to be free of that one thing that distinguishes her from the animals and birds she sees around her; clothes, ‘Dance of the Wild’ has nothing to do with wild animals. Instead it deals with the wild nature in each living soul, a nature which we human beings try to suppress as we grow in age, yet can’t help but smile when the little ones display the same. Down to earth and riveting, the book has enough in terms of content and illustrations to hold the attention of even a little toddler. Reading the book to my little grandson of less than two years was like taking him on a journey he himself lives each day. The little guy loves to shed off that extra burden and feel the elements of Nature caress his body with love. He could easily relate to the story because he himself experiences the joy of walking nude. Apart from that all the characters in the book are very much a part of his life. He has a ‘pirate’ constantly beckoning him to run out and play and with it. He is mesmerized with the birds that fritter from tree to tree in our courtyard, without a care. He has a grandma in me who ‘pesters’ him when he sheds off his clothes and runs about without a care and also has a mother with whom he can share a secret. It was a pleasure reading the book to him and listen to him yarn a story of his own, based on the illustrations given within the pages.

Though the Amazon site mentions the reading level as 6+ years, my very own experience is that even parents of toddlers can pick it up and enjoy the smile it brings to the little one’s face. The book definitely has the ability to nudge the creative side of the little ones to relate and yarn stories of their own around the illustrations that are simple yet relatable. The book will also interest and inspire the targeted group i.e. 6+ year ones, to enjoy the world of books and take to the habit of reading and writing.
 
 
VERDICT
 
 
Narrated in down to earth fashion, the story is enjoyable, relatable and thought -evoking. The sketches in subtle colours and simple strokes are easy on the eyes yet alluring.


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Buy the book @ amazon.in or flipkart
 
 
MEET RICHA JHA THE AUTHOR
 
 

 
 

Author and picture book snuggler- creator Richa Jha is an Indian author, blogger, publisher and picture book enthusiast. She is an independent creator of picture books in English under her PICKLE YOLK BOOKS imprint.

To get to know her, do visit her profile at Goodreads

You can also connect with her via fb / twitter

Do take a look at her website

Book Review : Frank Goes To The Market

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TITLE: Frank Goes To The Market
AUTHOR: C.G.Salamander
ILLUSTRATOR: Chetan Sharma
PUBLISHER: MsMoochie (2017)
ISBN-13: 978-9385290190
GENRE: Children’s Literature
Reading level: 1.00 – 6.00 years
 
 
 

THE BOOK
 
 
 

 
 
 
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Grab your shopping basket!
It’s time to step into a busy market.

It’s Frank’s first trip to the market and he is thrilled! He RUNS towards a sea of tomatoes. He HOPS towards a cart of potatoes. Finally he TURNS around to look at his mother. But, much to his dismay, she isn’t there.

Watch a crowded marketplace come to life in this vibrant story as we follow the adventures of one unforgettable little boy.
 
 
 

MY TAKE
 
 

A cute little book of 22 pages, this one belongs to the Little Book Lovers’ Reading Series and is resplendent with colourful pictures each a veritable treat to the eyes. Aimed at reinforcing pre- reading skills and arousing an interest in the little minds, ‘Frank Goes To The Market’ does exactly that. While each page carries forward the story of Frank and his visit to the market which is filled with adventure, in just one or two sentences, the picture presentation of the narration leaves a lasting impression on the little mind. This I say not from the point of a reviewer but from firsthand experience.

A reading of the book with my 17 month old grandson by my side was enough to make me realize the effectiveness of the illustrations which are not only colourful but are communicative too. There are a few things in the book that he could easily relate to. For example as soon as he saw the first picture with an auto and Frank and his mother he was thrilled to the core and instantaneously related it to an auto near our home. In fact he related Frank to himself and identified Frank’s mother as myself his grandmother. ( Maybe because he sees me often in a saree unlike his mother who is always in a salwar-kameez). He was so thrilled by what he came across in each page that he was literally squealing in delight and wanted me to narrate the story again and again.

The story is simple and while children in the age group of one to four may not be able to read it on their own, they will surely enjoy it since all the elements in the story are there to see in their home/surroundings. In fact it just crossed my mind that the story can also be used as a medium to let them unleash their creative side and yarn a story of their own/ take this story forward.

There are certain passages that rhyme and give the story a poetical touch making it interesting and soothing to the ears.

The activities at the end of the book like ‘Word Fun,’ ‘Match the rhyming words,’ Find and Colour’ and ‘Put in Order,’ add a touch of fun combined with study and are engaging. The story imparts an important lesson and two too.
 
 
 
VERDICT
 
 

Overall great story, perfect style, engaging read with catchy and eye-appealing illustrations. A veritable treat for the young mind with plenty of nutrition enough to charge their creative side, I’ll give the book a 4 on a scale of 5.


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GET A COPY @ : Amazon.in

Review: Dominick & the Dragon by Anne K. Edwards

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TITLE: Dominick & the Dragon
AUTHOR: Anne K. Edwards
FORMAT: ebook
PAGES: 42
GENRE: Fantasy Fiction ( For children)
ASIN: B01N9F3RFS
GET IT @ amazon.com

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Dominick is a lonely little boy who has an interest in dragons so when his brothers tell him about one living in the “dark forest” behind Dominick’s home, he longs to meet him. Imagine his surprise when he does. Here, he must outsmart the dragon named Elvis who is always hungry.

MY TAKE

A short yet interesting read, one that is sure to appeal to the young mind, Dominick and the dragon reminded me of my childhood when I used to dream of elves and fairies, believed in creatures appearing in story books and was in awe of children elder to me. In fact Dominick stands for that child in us.

The book also reminded me of some sane advice given to me by my elders and later passed on by me to my child like be on guard when you talk to strangers, don’t leave the confines of the house unchaperoned.

There are some twists and turns and we see young Dominick using his wits to escape from the clutches of danger.

The language is simple and the pace is perfect.

Overall a cute read I’ll rate the book 4 on a scale of 5.


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Review : Changing Places by Anne K. Edwards

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TITLE: Changing Places
AUTHOR: Anne K. Edwards
Age level: 4-8
Price: $1.99/₹ 129.00
Pages: 14
ASIN: B06Y2DP993
Find on amazon.com & Amazon.in

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A black cat named Whiskers encounters a snake that has lost his home when he goes outside to see the world.

WHAT I LIKED

A cute little story, an instaread, that points to an important facet of life one that nearly all of us have encountered sometime or the other. Though ‘Changing Places’ is the story of Whiskers the black home cat and a homeless snake it is in fact one that reflects human nature indirectly. We as human beings are-

1) Never satisfied with what we have. For us the pasture is always greener on the other side of the fence i.e. till we experience it.
2) Curiosity ‘kills’ us. The thirst to experience and know the unknown prompts us to explore. Once our thirst is satiated we yearn for home. This is the time we thank our stars just like Whiskers the cat.
3) Many inspite of facing odds, are hesitant to take up challenges for fear of the unknown like the snake. They need prompting and cajoling.

The style of narration is perfect and engaging. Language is simple, crisp and lucid. Pace is perfect.

There are some eye- catching illustrations by Dasguptarts that by themselves convey the story.

VERDICT

A wonderful and refreshing read one that has a message for the young, I’ll give this one a 5 on a scale of 5.


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The Author

Anne K. Edwards enjoys writing tales for children when she’s not focusing on a mystery. Some stories are ideas taken from little misadventures of her cat who actually did fall off the porch and land on a large blacksnake as it was sunning itself. Both were more than a little surprised.