Archive for the ‘Picture Book’ Category


A True Friend

Review of The Elephant Bird; Arefa Tehsin; Illustration by Sonal Goyal and Sumit Sakhuja; Pratham Books 2014; pp 20; Rs 40

– Shana Susan Ninan

A level 3 book from Pratham Books, a Bangalore-based organisation that strives to make sure that there’s a book in each child’s hand. Authored by Arefa Tehsin, honorary Wildlife Warden of Udaipur, and illustrated by Sonal Goyal and Sumit Sakhuja, this book  is meant for three-year-olds and upwards. But the fact that my one-and-a-half-year-old son was mesmerised by the colourful and vibrant illustrations is fact enough that all kids will enjoy this feast.

Munia’s limp forbids her from making any real companions. And the Elephant Bird is her only true friend. When one of the horses in the village disappears, the headmen and elders are quick to point fingers at the giant animal. Munia knows that the elephant bird is a harmless herbivore, and has definitely not eaten the horse! She voices her protest at the village council, gets shooed away and even her parents are mad at her. But knowing that the village folk plan to search for the elephant bird and harm it the next morning, Munia goes out at night to find the truth about the missing horse. Values such as friendship, honesty and caring are stamped in the foreground of this story.

This children’s picture book is inspired by the real Elephant Bird, one that became extinct in Madagascar, its home.

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Rating: 9.1/10 (7 votes cast)

Travels of Manni The Turtle

Review of Manni – From A World Beyond Stars; Benrali; Dreamworlds Beyond Time; pp 18; Rs 837 approx

– Shana Susan Ninan

A baby turtle on Guyana’s Shell Beach seeks his family. His life the next few hours is an adventurous ride – joining hands is Oonie, a coconut seed that transforms into a Moongazer. Drawing from Caribbean, Guyanese and Arawak Indian folklore and culture, author Benrali scrips – rather, sketches – the story of Manni, the turtle.

Benrali is an American author-illustrator born to Guyanese parents, and is the first to use the technique Ghazal couplets to decorate his story. The couplets flow like the water in the river, rendering a soothing music to the ear.

But that isn’t all. The whole book is illustrated to form a base for the story. I’d say that the illustrations capture the essence of the folklore and cultural aspects of the story. The sketches take the reader to Manni’s world. You can “hear” the waterfalls, “feel” the spray of water on your face as Manni dodges along the river, “see” the rise of the river, “travel” with Manni and Oonie to the island, and so on.

After his stint in the sea with Oonie as guide, Manni carries on with his search for his family. Colourfully done up, Benrali’s book is a refreshing read, classified under Caribbean Literature and also Children’s Literature.

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Rating: 9.9/10 (18 votes cast)