Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Off the beaten track!

As a kid in India, I grew up listening to numerous folk tales based on mythological characters and stories from panchatantra or jataka tales. During summer vacations, we used to visit my Grandmother’s family where lived and still lives a grand-aunt who was a master story teller. In her inimitable animated narrative style, she used to regal us with exciting and spine-chilling stories of Gods, demons and the mortals. I so wish I could relive those moments along with my son Abhay.

Speaking of folk tales, today I read two books with slightly off beat themes. One, a story based on an old Japanese tale of a woodcutter saving a crane. “A boy in the garden” by Allen Say is a story of a little boy who is so enamored with this folklore that he imagines himself to be a part of the same. What I liked most of about this story is the easily relatable “been there done there” attitude the little boy displays when his father is caught having the same illusion.

I read another book titled “Mirror” by Jeannie Baker that is a story showcasing a day in the life of two boys living in vastly different worlds – a city kid in Australia and country kid in Morocco. Both these boys appear to live in contrasting cultures, but have many similarities and share a unique connection that may be a little too subtle for your little one to notice. One of a kind in its theme and its layout, Abhay enjoyed the book's detailed illustration of the metropolitan scene and I was awe-struck by the breathtakingly beautiful images of Moroccan hillside. This is a text free book in as much as the colorful pictures convey everything there is to say about the boys’ daily routine. A book that lets your kid be the story teller for a change!

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