The Gajapati Kulapati stories by Ashok Rajagopalan have become quite a favourite among picture book readers. Two books have been published in the series and now here is the third one. In this story, Gajapati is fed a lot of food by his loving friends. From sugarcane to jaggery to balls of rice – everything that the elephant enjoys eating. But there’s so much food from his well-meaning friends that the elephant gets a tummy ache. What do Gajapati’s friends do to make him feel better? What is the best way to get rid of an annoying stomach ache? (It involves a certain ‘f-word’ that children love.)
The text in the book is straightforward and engaging. The illustrations by Ashok are inviting and entertaining. Gajapati looks quite adorable and the sounds that accompany the story – of Gajapati gulping the food, or the cow asking why he is looking sad, or all the tickling sounds at the end – appear in a large handwritten font. One can just imagine this book being read to a roomful or classroom full of toddlers and everyone making the sounds together. There is plenty in the story that children of about three to five years will identify with, not the least among them being laid up with a tummy ache thanks to some overindulgence.
There aren’t too many picture book series with the same cast of characters by Indian writers. Ashok Rajagopalan seems to have done this successfully with Gajapati Kulapati. This quirky story and its illustrations are sure to entice more children into exploring the other books in the series.
One request to the writer: perhaps the next time Gajapati does not have to fall sick? He is an elephant after all, and elephants have plenty of smart tricks ready at the tip of their trunks!
Author and Illustrator: Ashok Rajagopalan
Tulika Publishers, 2016
Subject Category: Contemporary/Fiction/Picture Book/Series
Tags: Read Aloud/Elephant/Gajapati Kulapati/Food/Tummy Ache/Friends/Humour