Each book in the set had 8 pages. Pages are numbered on the bottom (left and right) of 3 books and 1 book has page numbers on the top (left and right) . Not clear what purpose this erratic page numbering seeks
Books are visually attractive on first glance using a simple black ink print on coloured sheet and quality and texture of paper is good to touch
None of the books can be constituted as Graded Readers. They are short books, with minimum text but not graded for a beginner reader. Word choices are artificial to maintain a rhythm and might be phonologically appropriate in some, but for decoding and meaning making, the books are unable to sustain any deep interest.
Do and Don’t works with behaviours that children want to do and don’t, but the language is contrived. The illustrations of the boy are also not generic enough to make any child immediately relate to the character by the presence of the ‘tilak’ on the forehead.
Curly and Straight leaves the visual reader with bigger complexities than intended. Do straight lines on the curly snail mean curly or straight? Is a curve in the Elephants trunk curly? Curved staircases and curls on hills while baffling constructs do not necessarily belong in a beginner Level 1 reader or do they? Again the end of the book has something special that could have been the theme for the entire reader if developed more thoughtfully.
This and That builds on a theme of friendship and has a story line that extends through the book. It is the only book in the set that could be imagined as a narrative with some depth. Sentence constructions, word choices and sequence of sentence are not particularly well thought of from the point of the beginner reader as intended in Level 1 books.
Can and Can’t is similarly themed, better illustrated but the text does not follow the title. The book starts with can’ts and then moves to can. Also for beginner readers, contractions take longer. The book ends with a positive message and might appeal to a beginner reader for that.
Ruchi Shah has promise as an illustrator for children with bold confident strokes, cleaner pages, less clutter and better spacing of text could have contributed to a better developed set of books.
By Sujata Noronha
Do and Don’t
Curly and Straight
This and That
Can and Can’t
Author: Radha HS
Illustrator: Ruchi Shah