Stories from the Panchatantra seem to be dominating recent publications for children. They are aimed at different age groups. There are four books in the Red and Colour series by Thomson Press, The Monkey and the Crocodile for the very young by Vikas and The Foolish Princes and the Panchatantra, published by Orient Longman.
Under their Red and Colour series Thomson Press have experimented with bilingual books. Four books have been published so far. Each has two stories, and each page carries eight lines of the text in verse in English followed by its Hindi rendering, also in verse. The opposite page carries a line sketch to be coloured by the reader. These can be called ‘three-in-one’ books. Although this experiment has been carried out earlier in some parts of Canada and some other countries with considerable success, it is a novel experiment in regard to children’s books in India. Many of our children are bilingual and even trilingual, and such books can be very helpful as pleasant and enjoyable language teaching aids.
While the English text makes smooth and pleasant reading, the Hindi rendering does not measure up to the original. The language jars at places and the metre is wrong at times. The few lines given on the second cover by way of introduction, addressed to the readers, are in chaste Hindi—stiff, formal and cold.