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Rich Fare for Little Ones

Padma Srinath

By Ten titles in this series, different authors/illustrators
Tulika Publishers, Chennai, 2013, pp. 4, Rs. 45.00


Published by Tulika, the Thumb Thumb Books series uses everyday contexts and everyday vocabulary to lend confidence to a child beginning to read. These beginner readers are a set of ten colorful books meant to capture the imagination of four year olds (and up), and satisfy their urge to be able to read. The series is created with thumbprint characters.   Developmentally speaking, a child first listens to narrations and then moves on to see pictures of the narrations. Then comes the stage where simple correlation of picture to word is transcended and the child wants to read to get the nuances of the narration. Learning to read hence has to first make the child feel that he or she has fluency of language and understands the situation as well. It is here that the thumbprint characters Thambi and Thangi, exploring their world, enter the arena.   The informal style of narration in these books wherein everyday experiences are talked about invite a child to read. Most reading books have repetitive words that make a child read without even looking at the word. But in this series, Tulika seems to have largely kept the repetitive sentence structure out and kept it closer to the spoken, so that the reading is more spontaneous. Each time a child picks up a book, he/she discovers the joy of reading ‘9 to 1’ by Niveditha Subramanian, the first book in the series, goes backwards in numbers and finally brings in Thambi to welcome the rain. All the characters in the book built around the thumbprint are captivating.   Making faces is an explorative fascination that all children go through. In ‘Mirror’, Sandhya Rao brings this through charmingly. The interest in reading is sure to held as the illustrations are dynamic. In ‘Flower’ the exploration is around making words of sounds—indeed a thoroughly enjoyable experience for four-year-olds. It’s the surprises that come from exploration that forms the storyline. Ashok Rajagopalan’s illustrations are like enacting it to an audience.   ‘Hello’ is a story about the wonderful world of trees and bees, butterflies and birds and Thambi of course greeting the flower with a ‘Hello’. In ‘Where is Thangi?’, Thangi keeps the suspense, even if Thambi’s anxiety to find Thangi increases page after page. When, she declares in the end ‘Here I am’, Thambi is overjoyed. The illustration on the last page is a delight.   ‘Shhhhh!’ goes ...

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