Thursday, June 14, 2012

A memorable Story....and Story time!

Though it will be almost a year since we got back from the US, there are some things we still miss. I’m not sure of Abhay, but I certainly miss driving him to the Hillsboro library every Tuesdays between 6.30 PM and 7.00 PM for family story time. There were times when the weather was awful, or we’ve been horribly late (that used to happen almost every time!) but I made sure we went for at least two of the four story hours every month. In fact, I had made friends with many Indian moms attending the story time the same time. Abhay especially used to enjoy attending the story time if he had the company of his good friends Gauri and Keshav. Anyway, if you’ve ever been to a family story time in the US, you’ll know that children of all ages - from infants, toddlers, preschoolers alike attend the story time. But whether they pay full attention to the story being narrated is a different question altogether! The story time usually began with reading of picture books with simple plots and then graduated to slightly complicated themes. Usually the story teller/children’s librarian will structure a few finger-plays or sing- alongs in between stories so as to hold the children’s attention lest they get restless. Even parents were encouraged to join in the singing and movement activities so as to get their shy kids to participate. So guess who was a more active participant – Abhay or his mom? J
Of course a few children’s libraries like Just book branches and the Hippo campus in Bangalore do hold story times on weekends, but they are either inconveniently located or have only limited seats available that always get filled up by the time we get there (a story of most free events in India!) So when Hippo Campus announced a reading of a Tulika children’s book  by the author herself, I had to make it to this one! Sure enough, we managed to get to Hippocampus just in time …..and even made to Tulika's May Newsletter that featured the very same story time with Abhay’s photo published along with the author and the other kids!!! Wow…Abhay attends one story time in Bangalore and he is famous!!!! J Anyway, today I picked up the same book that was read at Hippo campus story time, “Miaow!” a Bilingual picture book from Tulika publications by Alankrita Jain and translated by Sandhya Rao. I must say that we loved her rich and colorful illustrations especially of the cats, the rain and the moon in the night sky.  This is a story of a moon- loving black cat which turns white after slipping into a pail of white paint. Pleased at the turn of events, he lay on the roof smiling and identifying himself with the white moon. But just then it begins to rain and the white paint is washed off and the black cat reverts to being black again. He meows his disappointment and hears another cat meow back. He then sees a white cat with shining yellow eyes looking at him. The white cat complements him on his lovely green eyes and the black cat in turn likes the yellow eyes of the white cat and “Meow” they say in unison…with the moon appearing in the background. A charming little tale about how we don’t realize our own worth until someone else points out the same to us! A message not just for kids…right?

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