At first, it seems like one, fat, square book, until one realizes that it is a set in an envelope. Each individual book is just the right size for little hands to hold, when sitting on a parent’s lap and listening to the story being read aloud. The text is in very simple language, with plenty of onomatopoeic, action words, and short, 5-8 word sentences, sometimes in simple verse that can introduce the child to rhyme. ‘Simple’ here does not translate to boring – on the contrary, the tiny stories will easily capture the interest of the intended reader.
Each book is about something very familiar and comforting in a pre-schooler’s life. A new lunch box. A new child at school, who is feeling left out among unfamiliar faces, and who soon mixes with the friendly children in the vicinity. Playing with soap bubbles. Sitting on the window sill, just looking out of the window. Sharing toys with a sibling in imaginative play. Getting a photograph taken.
This is a set that could easily become a child’s favorite, with stories read aloud, in both English and Hindi. There has been no word-for-word translation, thus ensuring that the language flows and doesn’t sound stilted. The simple words may also invite the child to explore reading by itself, or even tell the story in its own words, looking at the pictures. The books could also double up as art books – the simple sketches in black-and-white could be turned into a coloring activity on rainy days.
BY SANDHYA RENUKAMBA
English translation by Zakiya Kurrien and Nishith Mehta.
Illustrated by Jayanthi Manokaran.
Design by Sandhya Radker.
Published by Eklavya, 2013.
Price: Set Rs 140. Individual books Rs 13 each.