Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tulika in The Book Review

Good news: The November 2010 issue of The Book Review has a focus on Books for Children. Better news: Many, many Tulika books have been reviewed in it. Yay!
The children's books issue of The Book Review does review several Tulika titles usually. But looking at the reviews this time around, we are quite happily dazed at the range of our books. Mother hens likely feel the same way about their many chicks, all unique. Or something. But look at them, dear reader: picture books, adventure novels, fold-out books, books that use fiction to teach history, wordbird books, puzzle books, story books, just-for-fun books...what joy! And here are some quotable quotes from the reviews.

Mohua Bhattacharya calls Pond/Talaab and Blackboard/Shyampatt 'a godsend for the repatriated parent'. She says, "Both Pond and Blackboard match delightful pictures with simple nouns and verbs that are so relevant to a child...They can also be used to teach English to children whose first language is Hindi. I particularly liked how the 'secondary' words flow out of the 'main' word in Blackboard...My son was also fascinated by the fact that in Pond, a bit of the picture from one page actually continued on to the next, so when the crow drops the biscuit in the 'crow' page, it actually falls on the worm's head in the 'worm' page."

Sumit Tripathi points out that art is not confined to artists and their works but often exists as a network of curators, galleries, critics, connoisseurs and art historians. It makes sense to introduce children to some of the pathways through which the artist and their works travel. "The four books of the set titled Looking at Art can be expected to do part of this job. Taking four painters of eminence..and weaving simple narratives around their works, these books introduce children to vital but often overlooked aspects of art like the restoration of paintings, fakes, archiving and seemingly mundane but actually crucial biographical details...The author and publishers must be congratulated for selecting an area as this for children's books and for having managed to do so with an attractive cover and design, good quality paper, nice illustrations and an extensive selection of the artists' works," he says.

Arna Seal introduces Home as a book in which "the physical structure of the device merges with the thought process that there is no beginning or end to our unfolding identities...From each fold jumps out something new, each turn promises a surprise...Home helps to celebrate the differences in life and living and drives home the point that everyone while being unique and special is connected to others through this thread of uniqueness."

Gopika Jadeja says of The Snow King's Daughter: "Rajendran exploits the childhood sense of wonder at discovering new places and the child's ability to make leaps of imagination to weave a charming tale, which is real and credible...the illustrations subtly and with very real detail add a more political dimension..."

Sowmya Rajendran declares that "Same and Different will keep you hooked, doesn't matter if you are well over 3 years old. [It] is as valuable as it is fun. Not only does it teach one to look and not just see, it carried with it an important and affirming message: you can belong to a group, no matter how similar or different you are to everybody else."

About My Brother Tootoo, she says "If one were to fit My Brother Tootoo into a genre, one might pick 'adventure'. And yet the book deals with several issues that are rarely touched upon in the average adventure novel for children...Suitable for children and adults alike, this is an adventure with a difference that you should plunge into."

Niveditha Subramaniam reviewed three Tulika books. She finds the illlustrations in Gajapati Kulapati endearing. "The special effects are particularly fun and will tickle readers old and young. The repetitive words make it great to read out loud," she finds
She also reviewed two books from the Aditi series. "If you are in the mood for an intergalactic adventure, the eleventh adventure in the Aditi series, Siril and The Spaceflower is a good read. Suniti Namjoshi keeps the plot simple, but gently and effectively explores trust, taking risks and how friendships can be made in the most unlikely of places," she says. "The next adventure, Beautiful and the Cyberspace Runaway, is probably Namjoshi's funniest yet...Humorous, insightful and thought-provoking, Beautiful and the Cyberspace Runaway blurs the boundaries between real and virtual, raising questions for new-age readers."

Sujata Noronha has also reviewed three Tulika books. Little Fingers "...allows for participatory action with the storyline that comes spontaneously to children and makes reading a joy...we were attracted to all the pictures, and proud to see brown hands in print," she says.

The illustrations in Ju's Story "...gracefully show homes that are not cluttered with middle class trappings so familiar in picture books...For children who are emerging into literacy, a letter that is part of most classrooms, a letter that is part of most classroom syllabus teaching might assume a new importance when seen through Ju," she says.
Of the third book she reviewed: "Sabri understands and records her world in pictures...How could Sabri not have any colours?...Sabri's Colours is a book that allows us to look carefully at the colours in our own image of the world and to colour again," she says.

Bageshree Subbanna reviewed A Silly Story of Bondapalli. "The story by Shamim Padamsee is complemented by the witty and amusing illustrations by Ashok Rajagopalan...those of us who are never content until we squeeze some moral out of every story could argue that A Silly Story of Bondapalli is a welcome break in an age obsessed with Size Zero..."

That's all, folks! Of course, if you would like to read the articles in full, all you have to do get your own copy of The Book Review:-)

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