WHIMSY

WHIMSY

Its not that nonsense has not been around – Sukumar Ray’s Abol Tabol was (and is) loved by scores of Bengali children and in its English avatar by kids and adults around the country. Other than that, though, I can count on my fingertips the number of books on the Indian scene that celebrate the joy of nonsense.

Whimsy in which Annie Besant pens a romance between a whimsical creature and a creature with a penchant for whimsy, is a most unusual book; a very pleasant addition to the nonsense bookshelf.

What is whimsy? is the big question at the heart of this picture book.  Mr Prat, born of a rat and a pig, insists that whimsy describes his strange appearance. Ms Fox begs to differ – what she does, for example, “wear pink pantaloons and ride a unicycle with my dog blue,” is whimsy.

Thus begins playful bantering between the two that delights the reader with descriptions of their outlandish appearance and mad behaviour. In word and picture, the book attempts to turn the expected into the unexpected. Clue: look beyond the words to find lots of unexpected-ness in the pictures as well. For instance, check out the dog, Blue’s behind, and maybe Mr. Prat’s shoes?

Whimsy is an exploration of the absurd. It is also a romance. It appears to be an homage to Edward Lear – yes, you’ll find one of his best-loved poems woven into one of the pictures, and I’m not telling you what and where…

Ruchi Mhasane’s utterly gorgeous illustrations make this book a thing of beauty with a very international look and feel.  The picture part is a whole story by itself that invites a second look beyond the obvious. Creating nonsense is a particularly sophisticated art, and the writing doesn’t fully capture the rhythm and inventiveness of the best kind of nonsense. That said, it is definitely imaginative and amusing and will get kids to explore and expand their imagination.

By Lubaina Bandukwala

Author: Annie Besant
Illustrator: Ruchi Mhasane
English
26 pages
Rs 195.00
ISBN: 978-81-8190-305-1
Karadi Tales, 2014
Subject Category: Contemporary/Fiction/Picture Book
Age-group: 5+

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

cropped-GOODBOOKS-LOGO-SQUARE.png

“For a teacher or librarian faced with dozens of books to read, a good book review website is as essential as maps are for geographers.”

Anil Menon - Writer
cropped-GOODBOOKS-LOGO-SQUARE.png

“Indian children’s books rarely get the kind of publicity they deserve in the popular or social media. Websites like Goodbooks plug the gap by not letting a single Indian children’s book of merit slip through the cracks. Most people would not even know about the books available in the market if not for a resource like this.”

cropped-GOODBOOKS-LOGO-SQUARE.png

“Book review sites like Goodbooks are a wonderful resource for locating theme-based or issue-based children’s books to enrich the learning experience in the classroom and at home.”

Asha Nehemiah - Children's Writer
Phone: +91 44 TBA
Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018 INDIA
305, Manickam Avenue, TTK Road,