ABOUT THE BOOKTsering can’t wait to taste his grandmother’s delicious noodle soup. He invites a string of friends and neighbours home. But as preparations get underway, there is a power cut and the house is plunged into darkness. Will his grandmother be able to put together the much-anticipated thukpa?
- Thukpa for All follows Tsering on his walk home from town, when he invites all his friends and neighbours home for a dinner of his Abi’s thukpa. The book treats its visually-impaired protagonist, Tsering, with restraint, tact, and maturity. His blindness is highlighted but not glorified. It is gently integrated into the storyline when the power goes off and Tsering comes to his Abi’s aid and helps her finish making the thukpa. The writers use textures, sounds, and smells to evoke spaces and atmospheres, and tries to draw attention to how a blind child experiences the world around him.
- It is also a book about food, community, and sharing. There are many instances in the book of spontaneous generosity, right from the many dinner invitations that Tsering extends, to the gifts of spinach, noodle dough, cheese, tea, and jam that each of the guests bring. Many tasks, including the cooking of the thukpa, are performed in a participative manner: for instance, while Abi slices the tomatoes and onions, Tsering goes out to pick peas. These deft touches draw attention to the value of sharing work and resources.
- The writers introduce young readers to some aspects of life in Ladakh, and choose to integrate features of local speech and culture seamlessly into the text. The small passage on Ladakh at the end of the book and the glossary provide explanations without interfering with the flow of the story in any way.
- Books about food are always extra yummy. The recipe at the end is a great touch and will hopefully have young readers’ clamouring for thukpa instead of the usual pizzas and burgers.
- The illustrations, however, let the story down somewhat. While Tsering himself is pictured delightfully, much of the scenery and surroundings are portrayed in quite a simplistic manner. The colour palette is not very consistent or appealing, and the outlines are rather rough. The images on some pages are so cluttered that it becomes difficult to read the text.