SHAH JAHAN AND THE RUBY ROBBER

SHAH JAHAN AND THE RUBY ROBBER

ABOUT THE BOOK

Shah Jahan, the Great Mughal Emperor, is hopping mad. Someone has replaced the precious Timur Ruby on his new throne with a … plum! What’s worse, plums are suddenly turning up everywhere. Who can help the emperor solve this mystery?

SNAPSHOT REVIEW

  • Part of Duckbill’s History-Mystery series, this book, like the other ones in the series, blends history and story together in an imaginative way.
  • Since the book is aimed at younger readers, the length, the chapterisation, the sentence structure, the use of repetition (such as in the opening lines: “A great Mughal king must not hop. He must not skip. He must not high-five.”) – all these elements work very well.
  • Unlike the first couple of books in the History-Mystery series, such as Akbar and the Tricky Traitor and Ashoka and the Muddled Messages, which are not well-grounded in history and present the reader with two-dimensional cardboard characters, Shahjahan and the Ruby Robber evokes the period in which it is set much better and offers us glimpses into the eccentricities of some of the characters.
  • Having Shahjahan’s children solve the mystery for him is a very good idea. It serves as a reminder that history is made not merely by famous folks, powerful people and other adults, but also by children, and even a little toddler. Young readers are likely to appreciate this inclusion.
  • Natasha Sharma researches exhaustively and writes well but is not always able to integrate her research into the story or plot the intrigues and conspiracies convincingly.
  • Dara Shikoh, Shah Jahan’s eldest son, is presented rather shabbily in the story. Why on earth would he suddenly utter the words, “As the great poets say: The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog”? Not only is this anachronistic, it in no way adds to the story or to the character.
  • Considering that Shahjahan’s court was fabulously wealthy and magnificent, one wishes that the illustrations had been in colour so that they could have evoked the splendour and grandeur.

CONCLUSION

A book for a 7-9-year-old that is sure to make her laugh and, hopefully, become interested in history. Some of the inauthentic bits should have been edited out, though.

BOOK DETAILS

Author: Natasha Sharma
Illustrator: Lavanya Naidu
Language: English
Page Extent: 80 pages
Price: 199.00
ISBN: 978-93-83331-68-0
Publisher: Duckbill, 2017
Subject Category: Fiction/Chapter Book/History/Mystery/Humour/Series
Age-group: 8+ years

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