Rupa Ram is a famous but poor tailor with an unfulfilled dream – to stitch something for his own family. So, when he receives a gift of a brand new saafa, he is inspired to do just that! At the heart of this touching tale is a generous man who uses his imagination and creativity to do right by his family. With illustrations by Nayantara Surendranath, this book is Srividhya Venkat’s Indian adaptation of a European folktale.


  • The Clever Tailor is the story of Rupa Ram, a tailor who is loved by all for the beautiful clothes he stitches. But Rupa Ram is poor, and can’t afford to stitch anything for his own family. Then one day, he is gifted a new saafa (turban), and the thrifty Rupa Ram finds a way to use it and make something for the people he loves.
  • Rupa Ram loves his saafa so much he wears it everywhere, but he also loves his family so much that he wants to share the thrill of having something new and beautiful with all of them. The book speaks to readers about the value of generosity, and suggests that the joy of owning something special comes from sharing it, and not from keeping it all to yourself.
  • The story touches upon the idea of sharing at another level too: at the end of the book, even though all the gifts Rupa Ram made for his family have grown old and are worn out, he still has his ‘kahaani’ or story to share – not only with his family but also with the other people around him. The ultimate form of sharing is the telling and retelling of the story in a way that brings people together and makes them laugh, smile, and think.
  • The Clever Tailor makes use of sweet, smiling illustrations that draw our attention to the warmth at the heart of the story. The muted, tasteful colour palette helps to underscore the bright yellow bandhani of the saafa cloth in a manner that readers will surely appreciate its vibrancy and beauty. Extra touches from the illustrator, such as the panels that depict all the different activities that the characters do wearing their new clothes, are particularly fun.
  • The framework of the original European folktale helps to keep the book focused on the narrative and ensures that the storyline remains simple and elegant. The story never veers away from its conceptual focus, and the lucid, no-frills storytelling style keeps the reader moving easily through the progression of events.
  • This picture book is the winner of the 2019 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for the Middle East/India/Asia region.


The Clever Tailor is a charming and heartfelt story, delivered in well-chosen words and lovely pictures.


Author: Srividhya Venkat
Illustrator: Nayantara Surendranath
Language: English
Page Extent: 44 pages
Price: Rs 399
ISBN: 978-8193388907
Publisher: Karadi Tales, 2018
Subject Category: Fiction/Picture Book/Folktale/Family
Age-group: 6+

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