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Arjun Mahey


By Samhita Arni
Tara Books, Chennai, 2002, pp. 170 & 120, Rs. 230.00 & 200.00

THE GOLDEN LOAVES
By Rosa Vasseghi
1999, price not stated.


By Kiser Barnes
2001, pp. 40 & 34, price not stated.


By
2001, price not stated.

THE PRAYER TO THE MERCIFUL FOR LITTLE ONES; THE GARDENS OF SABA: QURAN STORIES FOR LITTLE HEARTS; GOODNIGHT STORIES FROM THE QURAN; TELL ME ABOUT THE PROPHET MOHAMMED
By Saniyasnain Khan
Goodword Kids, New Delhi, 2003 & 2004, price not stated.

THE BUTTER THIEF IN THE KRISHNA TALES; THE MOUNTAIN MAGIC IN THE KRISHNA TALES; THE SNAKE FIGHT IN THE KRISHNA TALES; THE ELEPHANT HEAD IN THE GANESHA TALES; GANESHA AND THE MOON IN THE GANESHA TALES; THE RACE IN THE GANESHA TALES
By Sonali Pota . Illustrated by Gurmeet and F. Cooper
BPI (India) Pvt. Ltd., Cardboard Books, 2014, Rs. 35.00 each

VOLUME XXVIII NUMBER 11 November 2004

George Steiner, quoting J.D.Salinger, tells us just how adept an adult has to be to keep in step with a child’s internal life: Sybil released her foot. “Did you read Little Black Sambo? “ she said. ”It’s very funny you should ask me that,” he said. “It so happens I just finished reading it last night.”  He reached down and took back Sibyl’s hand. “What did you think of it?” he asked her. “Did the tigers run all around that tree?” “I thought they’d never stop. I never saw so many tigers.” “There were only six,” Sibyl said. “Only six!” said the young man. “Do you call that only?” “Do you like wax?” Sybil asked. “Do I like what?” asked the young man. “Wax.” “Very much. Don’t you?”  Sybil nodded. “Do you like olives?” she asked. “Olives  -  yes. Olives and wax. I never go any place without ‘em.”  * Sybil was silent. “I like to chew candles,” she said finally. “Who doesn’t?” said the young man, getting his feet wet.   *        Children are perfectly, and comfortably, poised between the imaginal  world and the material one: foreshortened or lengthened time, creatures we never see during day, beasts that weep and dance, stars that speak: for a child these are ordinary things, as substantive as the material world in which school, the weather, one’s relatives, or one’s home, have their solidly grounded existence. A child’s generosity neither questions, nor rejects, worlds in which foxes talk to lions or the sun plays truant with humans, and in which the entire universe is linked in one large fellowship of the unseen, the unknown, and the miraculous.      So much is obvious. What is not obvious is that the child—like any adult—despises being patronized. There is no creature more fiercely egalitarian, or more fiercely dismissive, than the child who perceives scorn in an adult; belittle a child through supercilious tones or an oversimple assent to the miraculous and one will have earned a contempt that (were it visible) could swallow one’s condescension whole and spit out only the cleaned bones. Children, quite as acutely as adults, can recognize double-entendre, irony and authorial intention; one insults their intelligence at considerable risk.   *      As a card-carrying member of the Children Aren’t Idiots club, I find the category of children’s literature incomprehensible. There are good books ...


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