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No hiccups here!

Book: Hic!copotamus.










Author: Geeta Dharmarajan.

Artist: Atanu Roy.

Publisher: Katha.

Price: Rs. 140.00

The inimitable pair of Geeta and Atanu have turned their talents to bring out a book to laugh with.

The usual sounds of the Gulmohar Jungle are rudely disturbed one morning by something gigantic sploshing into the Lily Pond. What in heaven could it be? The rest of the story is pure fun and can be enjoyed by children as they listen, take roles and enact the hilarious scenes.

Atanu Roy shows his versatility in creating absurd and comical representations of the animals in the forest. Geeta Dharmarajan’s story line keeps the guessing game alive, and the participation of the animals and readers going at a good pace. The conversational style draws both younger and older readers alike.

“Soon they were all busy thinking. ‘Water’, said Forest Fox suddenly. That’s what we foxes drink when we hiccup. It works every time!”

” ‘Thanks!’ said Hawasi, ‘Water I love!'”

One trend that can be noticed in fiction for children these days is the inclusion of facts either at the end of the story or interspersed within the text. This does not always match the age group the story is intended for. But here it blends in well, probably because children are insatiably curious about animals.

Altogether a book which children will relate to both in terms of animals they love and hiccups which are a source of delight to everyone except the sufferer!

Usha Mukunda.         Oct. 29th 2014.

Who has seen the wind?

Book: The Dust Storm.










Author: Geeta Dharamarajan.

Artist: Atanu Roy.

Publisher: Katha.

Price: Rs. 140.00

Children from almost all backgrounds are being sent earlier and earlier to play schools, many of which do not deserve that nomenclature. Most of them “preoccupy” their wards leaving them with hardly any space to day dream.The creative and formative years of a child’s life is taken up with planned ‘activities.’ Where is the place for imagination? Against this reality, this book comes as a refreshing breath of air.

The story opens with a young girl who steps out of her ordinary home and is carried along by a dust storm. The remaining pages are pure joy as the young girl encounters magical situations that every child could and should envision. Atanu Roy wafts both adults and children into meadows of flowers, clouds of balloons and a myriad rainbow. There is a sense of free flow in his use of colours and movement. An artist who lives his dream!

Geeta Dharmarajan is a master story teller but of late I had missed the spark in her writing. She is back in full force in this tale with rhyming couplets and soaring images.

“I feel so good,

I want to fly.

Rainbow says.

‘Go on, just try.’”

And again, “I slide on balloons.

           Blue and green.

         I ride a cloud horse,

           Like a queen.”

I was reminded of the poem “Who has seen the wind?”by Christina Rossetti.

Who has seen the wind?

Neither I nor you:

But when the leaves hang trembling,

The wind is passing through.

The production, as always is excellent.

Usha Mukunda.     October 29th 2014.