The wonderful world of Kids books

January 25, 2010

I love Children’s Literature. Having a kid gave me more than enough license to indulge  highly juvenile hobbies and of those enjoying kids books ranks in the top 3  for me.  I fall in love with stories and the authors’ styles most of the time..Thank goodness the authors live far away or I might be stalking them. ..That aside the next attractive element is the illustration…The pictures in a kid book are very important, I would say maybe as important as the story itself.   I remember reading “Amar Chitra Kathas” and Tinkles and Target from an eon ago and remember the illustrator or at least fondly remember better illustrated stories. We also had a dogeared set of Fairy tales in a “Colouring book” format   from my mother’s school days and every sibling had left ample evidence of their colouring abilities  in it in unique , even off color ways. ..It probably landed up at some Raddi waala’s(recycle guy in India) haul.  Some research showed that it was a fabulous collection from the 50s or before…an antique by now…oh well …better to let Bygones be bygones. Focus on what I have now….

Some stories I recall very fondly are

1. The Jataka tales Panchatantra series….The illustrator is a genius…yeah and I have all these at home now after I could afford it.  Remember the Animals’ faces or the men in pagris. Amar Chitra Kathas delved into every hero and heroine but I loved the comics where the charcters were beautiful and brave . Couldnt get enough of these. I could mention a few like Noor Jahan, JayPrakash Narayan(yeah freedoom fighters were good inspiring stories) , Ganga, Rana kumbha, Ashoka, Ramayana to name a few.

2. Detective Moochwaala and Pooch  from target- Hilarious and Ajit Ninan was the cartoonist ..I think.

3. Tintin – Who cannot love this series especially when you got to learn Blistering Barnacles and thundering Typhoons…or a Nitwitted Nincompoop.  Give it “up” for swear words like these and the Captain Himself. These adventures gave enough thrill and comic relief to brighten up anyrainy day.

4. Asterix – I read these only in my post grad…The pictures were very busy and put me off before I think…Anyways like all college things you toy with a popular thing and once in awhile fall I love with  it..:-) treks and Asterix were some of these and the perks (huge sigh) were huge …..

Ive digressed an awful lot …but Im sure all of us have our pet cartoonists…

I love most of Ananya’s kid books and found a whole lot of  style in a lot of the illustrators.  Its the unskilled artist in me I guess 🙂 but I wonder and get totally lost in  how the illustrator painted a picture or achieved a certain painting  effect…Hopefully economy permitting I shall take a few art classes and learn some techniques myself…

Meanwhile Ive no choice but to lap up the drawings of

1. Felicia Bond (If you take a mouse series)

2. Tomie de Paola – Strega Nona stories

3. Eric Carle – of course… A starting point for imagination.

4. Brenda Clark (Franklin the turtle series, the pictures are so vivid.)

5. Hilary Knight (Eloise books … lovable brat that she is. we adore her)

6. Jan Brett – super decorative

7. Kevin Henkes – Lily’s purple plastic , Chrysanthemum

8. Greme Base – Jungle drums, water hole. fantastic stories with color spectaculor.

9. David Wiesner – The three little pigs –  imagination overdrive

10 and last. Magic school bus series

Needless to say some of Ananya’s books wind up on my bedside table as I lap up the latest Book series she is into.  Humor is alive and very strong in youth books and I am so grateful to all Children’s authors for keeping us all laughin hard..especially in somewhat bleak times like these . Some like the “Fudge” and Junie B jones series are tongue in cheek and howlarious.  Audiobook cds are even better as they bring the characters to life and the child is exposed to the “audio” medium while we travel to distant places and try to keep the “Are we there yet?” and “Im bored” din….

And finally my humble and heartfelt,  original and longer ode to the “mouse” series which I edited mercilessly to suit its 420 word limit.

This mouse wanted some dosa for lunch
I made the Dosa and then she wanted some chutney to go with it.
After a while she wanted  some sambhar too.
In a bit she said a vada would taste divine
with the sambhar and chutney so fine.
She was thirsty for some Mango Lassi and we went to the Indian grocery store
I picked up some Mango pulp , Mango juice and sweets too
She then wanted some real Alphonso mangoes.
Since the mangoes in US are #$%@ we bought a ticket to India…
We landed in Delhi and had chole bhature, chat and golgappe,
We went to Agra, jaipur and Madras
Saw the Taj Mahal , Hawa Mahal and Mahaballipuram
We ate Agra ke pethe, Jaipur ki daal baati and Madras ka Rasam
We had tons of fun and got baked in the hot sun.
We some Bollywood movies and grooved to the latest tunes
Before you could spell “SirpurKagazNagar” the vacation was over..
Lugged a thousand suitcases and boarded the plane
Came back home and unpacked treasures galore
And then the mouse said can we have yummy Dosas like before…

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Im funny these days

December 6, 2009

Thats what my daughter says all the time  to me these days. I can’ t help but think if thats a good thing or not.  Is too funny a bad thing ? Yeah , it causes serious time delay when I’m trying to get her to do some math and her laughter puts the brakes on our efforts…. So much for using humor to diffuse the tension in the air created by difficult math problems… ..

Ananya loves to laugh and waits for the moment with eyes shining…When she was younger she would come alive at parties with a clown or magician only because they provided those moments….Sitting in the first row her laughs would be the loudest I could be sure the one kid doubling up uncontrollably was mine…Her teacher who would be reading a funny story in class would have to pull on a serious face and ask my daughter to “Cut it out ” for the story to continue….I swear Ive heard her laughing in her dreams many a time too.

But we must get to solving that homework every day and practice for those dreadful exams . Its amazing how much she resists it in the beginning and as soon as she finds out that its not as tough as she thought , there is a sea change in her attitude. She will readily tackle a challenging one too.  Its a daily routine we must engage in..The day she readily gives in Im gonna die of heart failure….Her creativity  amazes me too…In her English work she often has to make sentences out of a few words and using more than 1 in the same sentence is allowed.  Ananya will usually be so lazy and yet think enough to string a lot of them into a single, meaningful sentence. Such moments make me feel I did something good for her all along and there is hope …. for the two of us !!!

Hello world!

December 2, 2009

I am doing Shree Ganesh on my blog right now.  Thodi si excitement ho rahi hai jaise bachpan me hoti thi shaitaani karne se pehle. Najaane kyon ho rahi hai…My intentions are far from naughty this time.  I guess thats proof that despite aging bachpana abhi baaki hai mujhme bharpoor….

I hope I will have ideas galore to write on .Am reading abook called “the Saint, the Surfer and the CEO” . The first few pages were full of useful metaphors many of which were cliched but comfortable.  Its about a guy who seems to be successful and yet unhappy …So its about learning to be content and yet fulfilling your heart’s desires if ever both are possible …..He says introspection is key to self development  and that “Success is an inside job” .  Seemed like an interesting read.

Of late, Ive been tweaking my own responses to my environment. I never found prayer to be this powerful before. Total surrender to an unseen force which one has assumed to be a guiding light can indeed be an awesome adventure. Somehow its not as boring as it seemed. Going about your daily business with bouts of creativity as opposed to resistence and friction does ease the load.  A generous use of kindness  makes other happy especially children and that sure makes my day.  In this cut-throat world we are losing our deposit of kindness and togetherness.