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Sucharita Sengupta

MISSING: A MAGNIFICENT SUPERDOG
By Himanjali Sankar
Duckbill Books, Chennai, 2014, pp. 152, Rs. 225.00

PHISS PHUSS BOOM
By Anushka Ravishankar , Jerry Pinto & Sayoni Basu
Duckbill Books, Chennai, 2013, pp. 66, Rs. 150.00

ASHOKA AND THE MUDDLED MESSAGES; AKBAR AND THE TRICKY TRAITOR; RAJA RAJA AND THE SWAPPED SACKS
By Natasha Sharma
Duckbill Books, Chennai, 2014, pp. 72, pp. 72, pp. 68, Rs. 175.00 each

SOMETHING FISHY
By Pavithra Sankaran
Duckbill Books, Chennai, 2014, pp. 68, Rs. 150.00

PETU PUMPKIN: TOOTH TROUBLES; PETU PUMPKIN: TIFFIN THIEF
By Arundhati Venkatesh
Duckbill Books, Chennai, 2014, pp. 68, Rs. 150.00

THE CASE OF THE CANDY BANDIT
By Archit Taneja
Duckbill Books, Chennai, 2014, pp. 128, Rs. 175.00

VOLUME XXXVIII NUMBER 11 November 2014

A long festive holiday in the middle of work is the stuff of joy. I decided to catch up on some long-pending reading, and picked up a bundle of mystery novels that had beckoned me for a while now. It is true that these lovely little books had been written for very, very young to very young readers. But mystery and adventure are things I find irresistible, and telling myself that age is no bar, I dived straight in.  My first encounter was with Rousseau Ghosh, described as a ‘stupid Labrador with a talent for telling time’. I discovered that Rousseau belied his name, and was indeed, slightly slow on the uptake. He is thrashed early on in the story by Woolf, an independent-minded lady dog owned by Toto and Momo, the Srinivasan twin boys. Lucky for him then, that he was owned by Kaavya and Anya, two fiery young ladies, who would come to his aid. When Toto and Momo visit the Ghosh household, an adventure begins as Rousseau and Woolf are dog-napped by aliens called the Marmaladies. The Marmaladies are numerous and of indeterminate gender, but we know for a fact that they are made of orange marmalade. We also know that they are feeling upset because their task was to tell time, and ever since people on Earth figured out things like clocks and watches, the Marmaladies had been feeling left-out. One of them gets the marvellous idea of nabbing Rousseau for some harmless research, but this puts the Ghosh and Srinivasan kids in a tizzy, who then embark upon an adventure to get their pooches back. Since this adventure, among other things, involved the Badshah of Bollywood, Shahrukh Khan, I enjoyed it very much. Phiss Phuss Boom, though not a mystery story, has three stories, each involving farts and demonstrating their usefulness, are adaptations of stories and rhymes told to the authors by their grandparents. In the first story, a scientific use of tummy gas leads Jijimon to win a race. In the second story, two fiery sisters from Goa defeat a scary monster by farting its eyes out. In the third story, a young Bengali boy helps finalize a wedding proposal by farting very publicly, and breaking the ice between the boy and the girl. There are two things I took away from these stories: one, that fart stories are available across cultures, and second, ...


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