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Neera Jain

A Project of
Eklavya Publications, Bhopal, 2014


Three Friends By Indu Harikumar 2013, pp. 24, R45.00 Rain By Nandini Majumdar, Art: Rafia Bano 2012, pp. 12, R30.00 The River at Night By Nandini Majumdar. Art: Zarina Khatun 2012, pp. 16, R40.00 My School By Saraswati Nandini Majumdar. Illustrated by Renuka Rajiv 2014, pp. 28, R60.00  The Cycle’s Dream Story by Prabhat. Art: Bidyut Rai. Translated from the Hindi by Tultul Biswas 2013, pp. 14, R70.00 All published by Eklavya I Am An Artist Text and Illustrations by Marta Altes Macmillan Children’s Books, 2013, pp. 24, R299.00 Eklavya is a non-profit organization that works for the education of children at the grass-root level and does the commendable work of creating reading material for the purpose. We look at five picture books brought out by Eklavya from 2012 onwards.  Three Friends is on the theme of how primary colours blend to form new colours. The book begins with, ‘Long ago, there were just three colours: red, yellow and blue.’ Two colours befriend each other and find new colours, for instance, ‘Red and yellow went together and found a new friend orange.’  All the illustrations in the book are through embroidery and patchwork done on cloth. In some places fabric paint has been used. Indu Harikumar, the author and illustrator of the story has studied fashion and history. She has combined her love for words and fabric in this book.  The theme is interesting and the idea of presenting colours through patchwork is also fun to look at. The fault lies in the execution of the idea. There are avoidable errors, such as saying that rain that falls from tips of trees is blue. Since this book is about actual colours one should not expect the reader to imagine that rain is blue. The colours of the balloons representing the three colours—yellow, red and blue look orange, red and purple. This is confusing.  Then again, the text could have been more imaginative. As it stands, it is rather bland.  Nandini Majumdar, a musician and writer, has brought together her writing skills and experience with the craftspeople of the NGO Nirman in the picture book, Rain. A young zardozi embroiderer from Varanasi, Rafia Bano, has embroidered on yellow cloth scenes of a hot day followed by rain. The text is very simple, three, four or five words on one page. The embroidery is beautiful in itself. And yet one cannot help wondering if the beauty of the embroidery would captivate a ...

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