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Tales of Old

Mohini Rao

Text by Ambika Anand ; Hindi translation, Agya Gandotra. Line drawing, Subrato Basu.
Thompson Press India, 1979, pp. 46, Rs. 3.00 each

By Santosh Rae , illustrations by Anand Mohan Naik
Madhuban Books, Delhi, 1979, pp. 12, Rs. 2.00

By Mali , illustrations by Meher Panthakay
Orient Longman, New Delhi, 1979, pp. 112, Rs. 6.00

By Mathuram Boothalingam , illustr­ations by  B.D. Sharma
Publication Division, 1979, pp. 82, Rs. 6.50

VOLUME IV NUMBER 2 September/October 1979

Stories from the Panchatantra seem to be dominating recent publications for children. They are aimed at different age groups. There are four books in the Red and Colour series by Thomson Press, The Monkey and the Crocodile for the very young by Vikas and The Foolish Princes and the Panchatantra, published by Orient Longman. Under their Red and Colour series Thomson Press have experimented with bilingual books. Four books have been published so far. Each has two stories, and each page carries eight lines of the text in verse in English followed by its Hindi rendering, also in verse. The opposite page carries a line sketch to be coloured by the reader. These can be called 'three-in-one' books. Although this experiment has been carried out earlier in some parts of Canada and some other countries with considerable success, it is a novel experiment in regard to children's books in India. Many of our children are bilingual and even trilingual, and such books can be very helpful as pleasant and enjoyable language teaching aids. While the English text makes smooth and pleasant reading, the Hindi rendering does not measure up to the original. The language jars at places and the metre is wrong at times. The few lines given on the second cover by way of introduction, addressed to the readers, are in chaste Hindi—stiff, formal and cold. The sketches are good but sometimes too intricate. They should have been simpler, providing larger colouring areas for the child. A bigger size would have been suitable for a book of this kind. The printing is neat but the cover is not as attractive as in the case of other Thomson books In spite of the drawbacks mentioned, the books are well devised to keep the child engaged, and by the time he finishes with colouring the pictures, he should feel involved with the book as he will be taking an active part in completing the book. As with The Monkey and the Croco­dile, what is striking about this little book is the art work by Anand Mohan Naik. The illustrations in black and white are sophisticated and attractive, but one feels there is too much black. On some pages, where the text and picture appear together, this impression is stronger, but the effect is pleasant when the text and picture appear on opposite pages. How­ever, the artist has proved ...

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