New Login   


Rachna Puri Dhir

By Devashish Makhija
Tulika Publishers, Chennai, 2013, pp. 32, Rs. 160.00


‘The residents of Bargad chawl are in danger of losing their homes—their nooks and crannies, shelters and perches. Ali, the monkey, has to find a way out. He swings, jumps and leaps into action, and comes up with a monkey trick that gives a new twist to the phrase, ‘playing god’ in this hilarious and heartwarming story!’ reads the jacket of this picture book recommended for children upwards of 5 years in age.   When reviewing a picture book, the work of both the author as well as illustrator demands attention. Considering the genesis of ‘picture books’, I am guessing that in the olden days, perhaps, when the first story was orally narrated or read from a printed source to a child, the child would imagine accompanying pictures in her/his mind. Then, along came picture books. Children got an added stimulus along with either the verbal or the visual (in case of older children who could read themselves) to process the words being heard or seen.   Sadly, even today, some publishers have a somewhat ‘casual’, if I may use the word, approach towards illustrating for children. Fortunately, Priya Kuriyan belongs to a small but growing tribe of contemporary Indian children’s book illustrators who take their art seriously and Tulika encourages such talent and commitment. When Ali Became Bajrangbali is a ‘true picture book’ with few words in big font, accompanied by amazing illustrations, page after page. The traditional Indian ‘Tree of Life’ inspired backdrop, numerous posters—whether on the temple wall or atop houses in the chawl, the expressions on the face of each and every character—this book’s illustrations are nothing short of a visual treat. Younger members of the audience (siblings or those who are not yet reading independently) can play ‘I Spy’ picture after the first reading, along with the adult reader, to enhance the experience even more.   Devashish Makhija, the author, has proven the famous saying ‘What is in a name?’ to hold true in this book which breaks many stereotypes. He successfully portrays symbiotic coexistence of animals and humans as also members of different religions, with great ease. The attention to detail needs to be commended—names of the location and characters, human or animal, are extremely well researched by the author, sure to bring smiles to the faces of readers of all ages who are familiar with Indian languages as also quirky ...

Table of Contents >>
Please or to Read Entire Article

Free Access Online 12 Back Issues
with 1 year's subscription
Archive (1976-2011)
under construction.