Your school librarian should read this

Aug 10, 2012, 12:19 IST | Fiona Fernandez

Two books for children stand out amid the clutter for reviving the art of good storytelling and fact sharing

It’s a unique concept realised into a factbook that should be lapped up by schools across the city. We loved the fact that a simple idea has been implemented in a reader-friendly, fun format that kids are bound to warm up to. Conceptualised by Preeti Vyas, written by Mirabelle Da’Cunha, and illustrated and designed by Suhita Mitra, this title is a well-thought out package.

As we skimmed through the pages, we were pleasantly surprised with the range that had been covered, from landmarks and parks to the city’s festivals and Mumbai-specific workplaces and magical experiences. Each input under these sub heads are more visual with less copy. The Mumbai theme runs throughout, be it the food — including lip-smacking street food, or a scene from Dadar’s railway station. The attention to detail impressed us. Sights and sounds typical to a city that most children’s knowledge books tend to overlook ensured that the title spelt Mumbai from cover to cover. Newer additions to the city’s landscape (Kala Ghoda arts precinct) and environmentally sensitive areas (Sewri mudflats) make for refreshing inclusions for a children’s book.

366 Words in Mumbai

Presented in simple English, it’s a departure from rigid guidebooks with rigid layouts. We hope the school librarian and the parent shouldn’t miss it on the rack, during his/her next visit to the bookstore.

Based on Satyajit Ray’s grandfather, Upendrakishore Roychoudhury’s classic tale, Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, this retelling of the tale by Gulzar is as entertaining and engaging as the original.

The tale is about Goopy the singer and Bagha the drummer who become friends in a dark forest. A host of exciting adventures await the musical duo who continues to make music despite being out of sync. Gulzarsaab introduces his touch to this favourite which is abridged and translated from the original Hindi version Potli Baba Ki Kahani: Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne.

There’s wit, charm and fluidity that will regale kids and adults. Shilpa Ranade’s illustrations and book design are brilliant, and pique the imagination. Pick it, to go back to a time, when the art of storytelling didn’t need ageless vampires or high-tech gizmos.

Both titles are available at leading bookstores 

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