Anyone who has ever had anything to do with a small child, or, on second thoughts, has been a child (that makes it all of us) will know the feeling of wanting something – right now, Mom! That feel of a small hand tugging yours, the bright eyes turned upwards glittering with the hope of a treat, the guileless face that hides a steely determination – are all well known to any parent, aunt, uncle or elder sibling.
In I Want that One!, Anil’s mother is reading a book, but Anil has a holiday, and really how can Amma read at such a time. To keep him away from mischief at home, she decides to take him out. There, he can’t help it if he likes everything that’s at the bottom of some teetering pile – be it an orange, a book, a samosa, or a flower. But grown-ups are strange and he is told he can’t have any of these things. Then Amma spots something that is perfect – whichever part of the pile Anil picks it up from. Finally, Anil has something warm and cuddly to hug and bring home.
In The Red Raincoat, Manu has already got something new and just waiting to be used – a red raincoat. But how can it be worn if there is no rain? The week passes by and every day he asks Ma if he can wear the lovely raincoat, but she points out that the sky is clear. Then, Tuesday onwards, little white clouds appear. By the time Saturday comes around, the clouds have become dark and there is a big bang of thunder rolling. The skies finally open up and Manu dashes outside into the rain. But does he remember to take his beloved new red raincoat?
Both the books are Pratham Level 1 titles. They are simple and cheerful. The text in both is straightforward with a dash of humour and builds up the expectation of the ending nicely. The illustrations are bright and attractive and happy – just what would keep new readers turning the pages till the end. In both books, simple concepts from everyday life are brought in – in the first, of mass (what happens when you tug at what is at the bottom of a pile), and in the other, about time (the days of the week). The design styles of the two books are quite different with I Want that One! being more informal while The Red Raincoat has clearly demarcated spaces for text and illustrations.
Easy and fun reads, both books can be happily read aloud by a fairly proficient reader. If not, they can be read out to the little people – till they reach out and grab them out of your hand.
I WANT THAT ONE!
Author: Mala Kumar
Illustrator: Soumya Menon
Pratham Books, 2015
THE RED RAINCOAT
Author: Kiran Kasturia
Illustrator: Zainab Tambawalla
Pratham Books, 2015
Subject Category: Contemporary/Fiction/Picture Books