MOTHER STEALS A BICYCLE AND OTHER STORIES
By Salai Selvam and Shruti Buddhavarapu. Translated by V Geetha
Tara Books, 2018, pp. 67, R400.00
A collection of eight stories narrated by a daughter as woven by her mother(amma) during their relaxed casual conversations. The stories are from amma’s own childhood. The imagery built by the stories in the Indian set up seems closer to home. This genre of stories may work well with grade school children who love to listen to real stories from the lives of adults around them, perhaps 9+ years old but maybe the stories would need to be a little juicier. Overall, the stories seem light with a friendly undertone. The rendering is plain and close to reality but for the same reason could sometimes fail to grip you instantly. The mother seems to be, at times, helping her child get another perspective on certain things she fears or despises like darkness or insects and at other times encouraging her spirit of adventure through simple pictures of the enchanting ways of a village life.
Illustrations are neat and primarily use intricate line work in black and white with a flash of blue, occasionally, here and there. They cover the details of the running story following a style of crowded detailing. The index page is interesting. Something is needed to make the title pages stand out from the rest of the illustrated pages. The language is simple and very pleasant. The articulation is fine and effective to help one draw clear pictures in the mind. The font and spacing is pleasing and gives the reader an experience of ease. The monotony of the black text is often cut with a flash of blue text or with interesting depictive typography in many places. The attractive book cover, warm coloured and good quality paper and neat illustrations add to the looks of the book.