Something Fishy, a fiction book for younger readers, is not one story, but three stories in one. About little Mira and her small town neighborhood. As you read through the stories and the believable and likable characters – her Amma, her best friend Sunil, the watchman Nambi uncle et al – you are reminded of the long forgotten neighbors, friends, sights, sounds and stories of your own childhood.
Mira unwittingly finds herself in mysterious situations and her mind doesn’t tend to settle till she has resolved them. We are thrown into a mystery from the very first line of the book. There is police in Mira’s building, that too in front of her Amma’s shop! In the first story The Tic-tic-tic Trouble, a rare gold watch is stolen from Amma’s shop. The second story The Mayamix Mess, Mira, a non-milk drinker, finds herself craving for milk after having it with Mayamix. But soon the dreamy, delicious mix is out of the market after some mysterious trouble at their factory. In the third story, The Payasam Puzzle, Mira’s neighbour Anita Aunty goes suspiciously missing in the middle of her preparing her famous payasam. The enigma is that the payasam smell keeps hanging in the neighborhood. Mira, an accidental detective, doesn’t fail to rake her brains and follow the clues to interesting solutions and discoveries.
Illustrations by Vandana Singh, some of which are a mix of real life images blended into sketches, give a lifelike feel to it. The detailing keeps you lingering around a few of them for a wee bit longer before you flip the page. The characters are depicted quite endearingly, be it Uncle Nambi the watchman or Sunil, the best friend.
Hope Pavithra Sankaran will take Mira for a few more adventures in her likable neighborhood. A good breezy read with easy vocabulary for a child.
The review won’t be complete without a word about the Duckbill Hole, a hole pierced strategically at the upper right corner of the book. It is downright seductive! You might want to hang the book in a thread or by a hook, or insert a finger in it as you read, or simply look at the garden outside your window through it. Who knows what you might find looking at the world through a hole!
By Arefa Tehsin
Author: Pavithra Sankaran
Illustrator: Vandana Singh
Subject Category: Mystery/Contemporary/Adventure