Tag Archives: puffin

The Day Grandfather Tickled a Tiger by Ruskin Bond

the-day-grandfather-tickled-a-tiger-by-ruskin-bond Title: The Day Grandfather Tickled a Tiger
Author: Ruskin Bond
Publisher: Puffin Books
ISBN: 978-0143428732
Genre: Children’s Books
Pages: 64
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 Stars

This is another title in the same Bond series – chapter books that is. The first one that I reviewed was “The Tree Lover”. This one as the title suggests is more on the funny side and was again, a breeze to read. Just that for this one, there were no watercolour illustrations so that was kind of disappointing. At the same time, the story is delightful (I had read it earlier) and this time it had me wondering if it actually happened or not.

“The Day Grandfather tickled a Tiger” is obviously again about Rusty’s grandfather – this time involving a tiger. I enjoyed this story a lot and also recalled that I had read it earlier but the illustrations by Viplov Singh helped enhance it. This one is a little longer than “The Tree Lover” so perhaps the older kids would enjoy it more, plus it is funny.

Ruskin Bond as I have said before has this uncanny ability to appeal to all age-groups. It doesn’t matter if you are his target audience, so to speak or not – I think he writes for everyone and that is the beauty of his writing. This is most certainly a solid reason to read him.


Squiggle takes a Walk : All about Punctuation by Natasha Sharma

Squiggle Takes a Walk by Natasha Sharma Title: Squiggle Takes a Walk : All about Punctuation
Author: Natasha Sharma
Publisher: Penguin Books, Zubaan Books
ISBN: 9789383074013
Genre: Children’s Book, Knowledge and Learning
Pages: 70
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

Squiggle wants to belong. Squiggle does not know where she fits in. She is confused. So she decides to find herself in the pages of a notebook and discovers the world of punctuation, until she finds someone her own kind. That is the plot of “Squiggle Takes a Walk” by Natasha Sharma – a delightful tale of Squiggle and her introduction to punctuation.

Squiggle Takes a Walk  - Image 2

I wish we had such books while we were growing up. A book that would talk to us about punctuation and the English language without being a bore like those Wren and Martin books. Natasha Sharma makes punctuation fun through the story of Squiggle and also the easy to understand concepts for children, not to forget the activities at the end of the book. The format of the book is delightful, as it is in the form of a notebook, which will only generate more excitement among kids.

Squiggle Takes a Walk  - Image 1

“Squiggle Takes a Walk” is the kind of book that can be read by children in less than half an hour but stays in the memory and the punctuation uses and points stick. Natasha Sharma has also with this book reached out to an adult who always had a problem with punctuation and still does. I plan to change that soon enough. Read it and so will you.

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Squiggle Takes a Walk: An Adventure in Punctuation

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Dandelion Clocks by Rebecca Westcott

Dandelion Clocks by Rebecca Westcott Title: Dandelion Clocks
Author: Rebecca Westcott
Publisher: Penguin UK
ISBN: 978-0141348995
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 288
Source: Product Manager
Rating: 4/5

The age of “sick-literature” is on. Almost all young adult books have that element in them after “The Fault in Our Stars” and I am not surprised. It can get a bit annoying though. I would rather be back in the time and place when literature for children and teens was simple and reality-free. Or maybe it is the times when they already know so much; that this cannot hurt all that much or maybe I am just thinking too much about it?

Anyway, I read “Dandelion Clocks” by Rebecca Westcott on the fifth of July. I finished it in a day. The premise was nice. The characters were well-etched (some of them though lacked some depth but I am sure, the author will take care of that in the sequel Violet Ink). The book could have been longer, according to me and that is only because I liked it and wanted to know more. All in all, “Dandelion Clocks” was a good read. It also choked me up (as usual) and that is only because, no matter what age one is at, the idea of losing a parent or being away from home (in my case) and thinking about Mom (this book is based on children-mother relationship) can get you all teary-eyed.

“Dandelion Clocks” is about Olivia, an eleven year old and six months in her life, knowing her mother is going to not be there. She will die soon. It is also about Isaac, her older brother with Asperger’s syndrome and how she deals with it. It is about friendship, love, death and identity as you grow up. Olivia loves clicking pictures. She finds her solace and comfort in them. And that again is the crux of the story, as she wants to keep memories alive through them.

On the other hand, it is about her mother trying to teach her how to be a better human being, as she no longer will be around and this she wants to through her diaries written when she was a teenager. It is also about Olivia’s aunt, brother and Dad and how they feel (well that will again be brought up in the sequel in a more detailed manner, I hope). As far as the title goes, let me tell you that you have to read the book to figure that one out.

Like I said, the premise is excellent. The narrative moves at a brisk pace. I just wanted more of it. The book is so taut in some places and somehow loses some steam in others. Having said that, I am still eagerly waiting for the sequel to know what happens in Olivia’s life and how she copes with loss of a loved one. “Dandelion Clocks” is a story that will captivate (in its own way), it will hurt (again in its own way) and will make you want to read the sequel, and I only hope that the sequel is longer.

Here is also the book trailer:

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Book Review: Indra Finds Happiness by Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik

Title: Indra Finds Happiness
Author: Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik
Series: Fun in Devlok
Publisher: Puffin
Genre: Mythology, Children’s Fiction
ISBN: 9780143331681
PP: 52 Pages
Source: Personal Copy
Price: Rs. 99
Rating: 5/5

So I set out to read these fantastical mythological tales churned for children by Devdutt and let me tell you a secret: Though the back cover of the book mentions that the book is for ages 6+ I immensely enjoyed them. There are 3 titles in this series, “Indra Finds Happiness”, “Gauri and the Talking Cow” and “An Identity Card for Krishna”. I picked up all of them knowing I would not be disappointed and trust me I wasn’t.

What is “Indra finds Happiness” all about anyway?

Little Harsha is sad as his parents are fighting, his sister is not speaking with him as she is too busy on her cell  phone, and he doesn’t get to eat ice-cream when he wants to. A cloud then takes him to the abode of Indra, and there he finds out that Indra – the god of gods is the unhappiest one around. Harsha on the course of his journey sees magnificent things – the six-tusked white elephant Airavata, the tree that fulfils every wish, the pot of never-ending gold and the potion that keeps Indra young and healthy and despite all this, he finds the god unhappy and miserable. He feels that all that he has achieved is under threat from everyone else.

Amidst all this, Indra decides to steal the sage Vasishta’s cow and gets caught in the act. It is the sage who teaches Indra how to be happy, however like they say, it is for the learner to decide whether or not he would like to apply what he has learnt and the question is: Does Indra realize and learn the lesson after all?

Now what I liked about the book: The story was told but of course quite simply as it is meant for children. It is the way it was told – the clarity of writing for children, with the precision and insight to be able to blend the traditional and mythological with the modern twist to the stories. I only wish the illustrations were done by Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik themselves, considering he is brilliant with stick illustrations.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid : The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney

After all the heavy and so-called intellectual reads, it was now time that I jumped into some light reading and no better book to do that with than the new installment of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid – The Ugly Truth. I had chanced upon this book on a book-lending website and since then I have read each and every installment and also passed it on to my nieces and nephews and I am one happy uncle for doing so as they have immensely enjoyed the series.

Greg is just starting to deal with the onset of puberty (although it hasn’t hit him yet), and between his eternal search to be cool and trying talk to girls, he has lots of misadventures along the way. There’s the attempts at fooling the new “maid”, who turns out to be a lot harder to fool then he thought. There’s the upcoming family wedding, full of family “fun”. His immediate family is surprisingly absent from most of his big problems, but the rest of his family has no problems filling in for him. “Health” class and its new birds and bees lessons are just as awkward for Greg as they are in real life. And of course, there’s the big school sleep-over that eventually all goes down the toilet (I loved the flushing the cheesies down the toilet bit).

Compared to the other books in this series, I think this is the best one since the original. From a kid’s perspective, I was told that I should warn that there is a picture of a boy’s butt in this book. It’s not pretty, but it is funny. Beyond that, the humor here is a *little* bit more mature in general, but still accessible to the average child reader.

I suppose the strongest recommendation is that the kids I know who read it were sorry it ended so quickly (i.e., the roughly 200 pages went by too fast!). Kids wanting to read more is as good a recommendation as you can get, so maybe I’ll leave it at that. If you’re a fan of the series, this is a good read.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth; Kinney, Jeff; Puffin; Rs. 250