Jyotsna Prakashan is a new entrant to the Indian publishing scene but it is fast making its way into the forefront of children’s books publishing in India. The Road written by Swati Raje and illustrated by Chandramohan Kulkarni is a classic tale of an individual who seeks to explore the world beyond the familiarity of his present environment. The delightful twist here is that the individual is a little lamb which is usually seen as a meek character. It has a lovely life” which is “full of fun” but the lamb is intrigued by what lies beyond. “What would the woods be made up of? And what would one find beyond the woods?”
Thus begins the journey of the lamb. Each encounter seems full of danger but also holds promise and “driven by a craze,” it goes on and on until the very end. What that end is the reader will discover while traversing through exquisite illustrations full of light, shadow, color and richness. The illustrator, writer and publisher have combined harmoniously to bring out a book of excellent quality at an amazing price of Rs. 75.00.
This theme has been touched upon by many writers starting perhaps with Kipling’s The Elephant’s Child who was “full of the most insatiable curiosity!” The title too brings up other connections in the mind, from Robert Frost’s poem on The Road Not Taken to Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali. Parents, librarians and teachers will enjoy meandering into these writings with the children as an add-on. The seed of curiosity and seeking lies in every child and adult as well. Beautifully told stories like this one reach out and touch that core with wonderful effect. Short paths, unexpected turnings, longer roads and unfolding vistas…the author uses all these images in his language and structure.
Books for children have many ‘desirables’ but most of all is the content and art. If a story makes the reader ponder and come back to the theme and the pictures to make discoveries anew, “that is a consummation devoutly to be wished!” This story does that and deserves a hurrah.
By Usha Mukunda
Author: Swati Raje
Illustrator: Chandramohan Kulkarni
Jyotsna Prakashan, 2014
Subject Category: Adventure/Fantasy