THE GRAND STORY OF IKLI CHOKLI
By Vinayan Bhaskaran. Illustrated by Rajiv Eipe
Tulika, Chennai, 2018, pp. 49, R165.00
As parents we want the best for our children and as the role entails, we guide them along the initial stages of their journey in life. But kids being headstrong do not always give their parents a patient hearing. This concept has been portrayed beautifully by Vinayan Bhaskaran. Sometimes it is best to let children learn from their mistakes which help them grow into better human beings.
Through the medium of Ikli Chokli, a street dog in the by-lanes of Karim Nagar, Vinayan takes the young reader through the escapades of this ostensibly brave and bold dog. In order to be different and always stay in the limelight, Ikli Chokli enjoys a dash in muddy puddles, drains, dirty ponds and all the mucky places he can see around much to the chagrin of his mother who worries endlessly for her young pup.
To his credit Vinayan weaves his magic as the readers are filled with awe, revulsion and laughter at the activities of this talking dog but at the same time leaves them feeling sorry for him. Written in a simple and easy to understand manner, the book will make the young readers chuckle at the stuff Ikli Chokli believes in and learn from his old age wisdom as he himself learns from his experiences.
The cover of the book shows a big white dog who seems to have an enthralled audience and it makes one wonder about the mystery that lies within the pages. Rajiv Eipe’s illustrations make the story seem real with the expressions on Ikli Chokli’s face and his body language bringing the character to life.
ADVENTURES OF THE HUMONGOOSE FAMILY
By Zai Whitaker. Illustrated by Niloufer Wadia
Tulika, Chennai, 2019, pp. 83, R195.00
Giving human voices and thoughts to a family of mongooses is Zai Whitaker’s perfect way of delving into the minds of humans and all that dwells within. Change is the only constant in life and humans are quite adept at adjusting to new places, things, challenges and whatever it is that life throws at them irrespective of the apprehensions or initial inhibitions that they may have.
Gundu and Keeri Humongoose are tired of a quite life in the forest and wish to explore new lands—the city life in their case. So they pack their bags and set off. The book takes the young readers on a journey of the unknown, the thrill of seeing and learning new things and living through the inevitable adaptation that comes in the wake of this exposure to the unknown.
Gundu and Keeri portray a perfect balance between patience and spontaneity; wisdom and superficial knowledge and above all the willingness to try out new things as against a desire for status quo. Lessons of trial, team work and love which hold together the bonds within a family at the nuclear level and the community on a larger platform form the core of the book. Keeri is shown as someone who has made up her mind but just because she once blurted something in opposition to what she actually desires, she waits for Gundu to firmly state it—to which she then agrees albeit sheepishly. On the other hand, even though Keeri seems to be the smarter one, more observant and knowledgeable, Gundu knows her well enough to smartly manipulate her and bring her around to not only seeing but also agreeing to his way of thinking. This actually makes one wonder as to who the smarter one is.
As the family size increases, their children reflect the doings of the young ones who apparently listen to their parents but love playing truant and at opportune times seem to just ‘forget’ the teachings as having merely ‘slipped their young minds’. The story beautifully weaves around the feelings of apprehension and fear in the face of an imminent loss, of remorse, guilt and finally, all this bringing the family together in order to ward off the threat that hangs over the family.
The story of the humongoose family depicts various human emotions in a subtle, clear and easy to understand manner with which children and adults alike can relate.
Niloufer Wadia’s illustrations of this family are clear in every detail. Each member’s character, thoughts and feelings at any particular point in the story is reflected in the pictures. The cover of the book shows the entire family and leaves the thought in the minds of the readers as they open the pages—parents shall always be impressed, zapped and proud of their kids whilst kids, well they shall always do what they do the best—just be kids!
Nalini Kalra, a lawyer by profession, an avid reader with a passion for healthy baking, a freelance writer, likes to talk about topics of interest to the general populace. While serving the IAF, she pursued MBA (HR), Journalism and a diploma in creative writing from UK. After leaving the IAF she has continued to study Child Psychology and Counselling Psychology.