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Dipavali Sen

By Sowmya Rajendran . Illustrations by Pratik Ghosh
Tulika Publishers, Chennai, 2012, pp.20, Rs. 95.00

By Arthi Anand Navaneeth . Illustrations by Roomani Kulkarni Translation by Priya Krishnan
Tulika Publishers, Chennai, 2012, pp.20, Rs. 85.00

Author, Visualiser, Art Director: Anil Saigal . Illustrations by Nirupam Borboruah. Layout Motionmakers, Artists Praveen and Dipten
Ashee Media, Mumbai, 2011, pp.100, Rs. 199.00


In Monday To Sunday, Mani, school-going but small, just does not fancy himself as a member of the human race. On Monday he imagines himself to be a monkey, eating bananas before going to school and throwing the peels here and there. He also jumps on the chairs to the wonderment of his sedate class-fellows. On Tuesday Mani thinks he is a crocodile, on Wednesday he turns a hippopotamus. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, he is, respectively, a horse, a kangaroo and a leopard. On Sunday he thinks he is a tortoise. He puts his blanket over his head and does not come out at all. Many adults do the same as Mani on Sundays, and perhaps would love to do as Mani does on the weekdays. The illustrations are lovely, especially the two-page frieze at the end, showing Mani throughout the week. I wish I could be Mani! But then, I get the feeling that Mani's response to Have You Seen This?, would be to put it away with the single word 'No'. Even if the readership intended had been three minus instead of three plus, this book is too stark to excite the child's imagination. A machine-gun shoots out: 'Have you seen a boat that walks? A house that spins? A chair that jumps? A door that runs?...' The questions have neither rhyme nor reason. Had they rhymed, or had some coherence, they could have been stimulating. 'Nonsense poetry' (as in Alice in Wonderland) has its own sense. But this very binary Yes-No sequence has hardly any claim to that category. The illustrations are certainly lively, and in bright, earthy colours. But even they, I fear, will not be able to transport the child to 'a mixed-up world where flowers talk and trees fly', a world that the back cover beckons to. In Gidoo: The Jungle Adventure, we graduate from picture books to graphic novel, a relatively new genre. Sheep-farmer Bansi is almost blind and depends greatly on his sheep-dog Giddoo, a 'dhol' or wild dog from the forests beyond Bansi's farm. Soni, a pretty sheep in the flock, is envious of the affection and respect Giddoo gets from the master as well as the rest of the flock. Raju, a little lamb quite unlike Mary's, is not a follower but a leader. He often leads himself into scrapes. Giddoo rescues Raju from his misadventures (with a ...

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