Saturday, December 21, 2013

A ‘stand-up’ book and a ‘stand-out’ book

Guest post by Pika Nani (author of  'Little Indians' a Tulika publication)

Congratulations to One story a day on turning three. Thanks Divya for inviting me to contribute to your wonderful blog.

As a little child, every night at bedtime I would ask my father to tell the same story – the ‘Topi story’ as I called it, better known as ‘The Cap seller and the Monkeys’ (A quick recap: A cap seller with a bundle of caps is sleeping under a tree. The tree is home to many monkeys and one by one they take away all the caps. The cap seller wakes up to find the monkeys wearing his caps. He is furious when they start imitating his actions, but it gives him an idea. He throws down his own cap and the monkeys throw their caps too. The cap seller quickly collects them all and is on his way.)
Many years later, when my father told the same story to my daughter Ananya, the first question she asked was, “What were the colours of the caps?” not surprising, considering she has been growing up surrounded by books with colourful and beautiful illustrations, that are as much a part of the story as the words (if not more).  

One such book is a ‘stand-up’ book called ‘Home’ by Nina Sabnani. This interactive book is shaped like a house with a ‘window’ and open-able panels. Each fold opens to pictures of an eclectic mix of people and animals and the many different places and ways in which they live. Ananya loves to play with the book, opening and closing the panels, reading the sentences, observing the pictures, asking questions, sometimes making up her own answers and exercising her imagination.

Going back to my own childhood, a book that ‘stands-out’ in my memory is ‘Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It was the pictures of this book that had captured my imagination.
At the beginning of the book the narrator shows his drawing to grown-ups and they all think it is of a hat.

The narrator says “My drawing was not a picture of a hat.  It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. But since the grown-ups were not able to understand it, I made another drawing: I drew the inside of a boa constrictor, so that the grown-ups could see it clearly. They always need to have things explained. My drawing number two looked like this:”

Once we learn to see beyond the obvious - unlimited possibilities open up..... with imagination.  As a children’s author, it’s an invaluable learning for me.


  1. Thanks for the "stand-out" post! it is a privilege to have you contribute to Onestoryaday!:-) You are so right ....children have the ability to see beyond the obvious ...which we adults don't...something we unlearn while growing up!..may be :-)

    1. Thanks Divya, but the privilege is mine. Blogs like yours help us to relive our childhood, re-discover these wonderful books...and perhaps rekindle our imagination :-)

  2. Great post!! Reminded me how much I loved pop-up books as a kid. In the age where there were no apps or websites, books that changed shape and with which you could interact were a such wonders.Its great to see that they still hold the same fascination over children.