Aditya and Anjali love listening to their grandmother’s stories, particularly the scary one about the ghost in the tree. But the night their grandmother passes away, all her stories seem to lose their meaning. Then something happens that is more mysterious and magical than any story. Could their grandmother still be with them after all?


  • The Ammuchi Puchi is a touching exploration of the relationship between a grandmother and her grandchildren and the grief felt by them when she passes away.
  • Author Sharanya Manivannan sensitively shows that it is possible to use one’s imagination to deal with grief and embark on a healing process.
  • The story highlights the role played by grandparents in a child’s life, and it does not make use of stereotypes to do so. Ammuchi in the book is no saccharine-sweet grandma who doles out yummy treats and warm hugs to her grandchildren. Instead, she laughs loudly and enjoys spooking the grandchildren by trying to convince them that there are ghosts and spirits lurking in the trees outside their house, while also making them realize that she is pulling their leg! The children, even if they are a bit afraid of her, love their grandmother, and the bond they share is a strong and special one. Ammuchi’s sudden death leaves the children grief-stricken.
  • The subtle introduction of the theme of reincarnation is likely to pique the curiosity of young readers.
  • The illustrations by Nerina Canzi, an Argentinian artist, are lush, rich in detail, and create a magical feel. The pages where Canzi’s bold colours give way to grey to convey Ammuchi’s passing is a poignant way to show the sense of bereavement the children feel.
  • While the artwork is stunningly beautiful and it is clear the artist has taken pains to learn about Indian textiles, there are some offkey notes. For instance, the mangoes that form an integral part of the cover and the inside pages look more like brinjals! And, not all Indian children (especially the ones in this story, who are clearly from a well-off family) go to schools where they sit on the floor.


The Ammuchi Puchi is a wondrous picture book that deals with an issue not touched upon often in children’s books – death and loss of a loved one, the emptiness that follows, and the power of the imagination in restoring hope.


Author: Sharanya Manivannan
Illustrator: Nerina Canzi
Language: English
Page Extent: 36 pages
Price: Rs 199
ISBN: 978-0-143-44325-4
Publisher: Penguin, 2018
Subject Category: Fiction/Picture Book/Death/Grief/Healing
Age-group: 6+

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