Everyone says Chumki is unlucky and makes things go wrong with her ‘magic’. No wonder she has no friends. Can her brother Aki’s plan help Chumki make friends?


  • Everyone in the village thinks Chumki is unlucky. All because on the day she was born, her father lost his oxen Bhola and Bholu to a disastrous flash of lightning. Things get worse for Chumki when her Dadi forbids her from going to school. But Chumki’s brother Aki hatches a plan that has the potential to turn Chumki’s luck around and teach their arch enemy, mango-hoarder par excellence Kanti Kaka, a lesson. On the way, Chumki manages to make some friends, and even convince her Dadi to send her back to school.
  • The book tries to get readers thinking about the position of the girl child in much of rural India. From Dadi’s insistence that Chumki must not go to school, to the very idea that Chumki is ‘jinxed’ and brings bad luck to everyone around her, the story gestures to the way in which conventional perceptions of gender play a part in the life of a young girl.
  • The plot itself is entertaining. Ranging from Chumki’s encounter with what she thinks is a talking cobra, to Aki’s attempt to help Chumki make friends, and finally the kids’ wild plan to steal mangoes, the pages of this hOle book are packed with a series of silly and giggle-inducing events.
  • The illustrations are comical and endearing, and compliment the writing perfectly.
  • The story does feel a little scattered in some respects. The plot changes track very frequently, which could confuse a young reader. For instance, the story flits from whether Chumki can do magic and why she doesn’t have any friends to why the children hate Kanti Kaka and why Chumki specifically hates him. The chapter book format doesn’t give the author the space to dwell on and explore any of these plot points fully.


Unlucky Chumki is a comical, light-hearted romp set in rural West Bengal. Slightly tighter plotting and it would have packed more punch!


Author: Lesley D. Biswas
Illustrator: Anupama Ajinkya Apte
Language: English
Page Extent: 72 pages
Price: Rs 175
Publisher: Duckbill, 2019
ISBN: 978-9387103153
Subject Category: Fiction/Chapter Book/Adventure/Humour
Age-Group: 7+

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