Kavita Tiwari
THE KING’S FEAST/ RAJA KI DAAWAT* by Both by Sanjeev Jaiswal ‘Sanjay’. Illustrated by Saurabh Pandey Children’s Book Trust, 2023, 16 pp., INR 60.00
November 2023, volume 47, No 11

This bilingual book is a delightful reading for 3-6 years old children. It caters to their imagination. It unfolds the story of a feast hosted by King Lion, where the expectations of the attending animals take an unexpected turn.
What I like about the book is the King Lion’s friendly behaviour with all the animals. The Lion instead of coercing the animals to eat, engages in polite conversation with them when they express dissatisfaction with their meals. The narrative takes an interesting twist when Lioness intervenes to resolve the issue, showcasing problem-solving skills.
Another commendable aspect is the book’s use of short sentences and easy words in both languages (English and Hindi) making it accessible and engaging for its target readers.
However, I didn’t like the portrayal of female animals in the story. Depicting female animals wearing churi, bindi, lipstick, necklace, dupatta, etc. may form a particular image of women in young minds. Can’t we imagine a female character without this? I think a broader representation of female characters that goes beyond traditional stereotypes should be encouraged.

*1st Prize, Concept Books, Competition for Writers of Children’s Books organized by CBT.