By Niveditha Subramaniam
Tulika Publishers, 2019, pp. 20, R165.00
MOUSE AND BEAR
By Nandini Nayar. Illustrations by Suvidha Mistry
Children’s Book Trust, 2019, pp. 16, R50.00
THE MAGIC OF CURLY WHORLY
By Santhini Govindan. Illustrations by Priya Nagarajan
Children’s Book Trust, 2019, pp. 24, R60.00
FLYING WITH GRANDPA
By Madhuri Kamat
Duckbill Books, 2019, pp. 74, R199.00
‘A poem should begin in delight and end in wisdom.’ What Robert Frost says of poetry holds true for children’s writing too, I believe. The four books under review all have different audiences they might appeal to, though they all have elements of both delight and wisdom.
Niveditha Subramaniam’s Ammama’s Sari is a beautiful wordless book appropriate for children between 0 to 100. Please acquire it whether or not you have children in your life. It captures the essence of the Indian design philosophy of affordance of everyday materials and objects—the very antithesis of the modern affliction of ‘use-and-throw’. Subramaniam mounts exquisitely textured fabric collages that evoke the texture and feel of a Sari. Ammama’s never-say-die Sari will not bow out because of a hole in it—it will serve the family in other avatars—as a curtain, a baby-sling, a companion for a pet…I recommend this book as a souvenir to be gifted to even adults when you go visiting other cultures. In many ways, this gem captures the soul of a culture that respects its resources and materials, and expresses love for relationships and family possessions in unusual ways.