Friday, April 10, 2015

Summer vacations - Time to turn a Bookasura!!!

First appeared on parent edge blog

We are at the end of the academic year and the  dreaded exam season is over in most parts of the country…at least for the younger kids and shall I say the most dread season for the parents is here to stay for the next two months ….vacations??!!  While the prospect of a temporary respite from the mad school mornings may be a reason for cheer, but given the long summer breaks, parents most often find themselves fretting over how to keep their kids engaged or occupied constructively. With most households having both parents working, the kids’ holiday schedule can get even more hectic than the regular school schedule- driving them from summer workshops, art camps, sports camps and even pre-IIT JEE training programs!  Of course….there’s always an option to pack them off to their grandparents’ provided it is convenient and the grandparents are willing to share the load…of course not to forget the children being willing participants to the change in social climate!:-)
Anyway, speaking of going to grandparents’ for the holidays, we are at Abhay's grandparents' place at Shristi and will spend most of April soaking up some coastal sunshine! Though a lot of kids routinely spent their summer vacations at grandparents' while we were growing up, I never got a chance to do so. Thankfully, Abhay is lucky and spends a part of summer holidays every year at their farm house at Dharmasthala. For a change, this year I also have accompanied Abhay to his grandparents' place...though I am not sure if he's very thrilled about it! :-)
Anyway, we got along many books withus, including a recently released book that makes a great summer read for kids aged five and above, -  Arundhati Venkatesh’sBookasura” brought out by Scholastic publications.
Bookasura revolves around the adventures of Bala and his run-in with the book-eating monster. You can’t help but adore Bala, the young protagonist, who amidst his excitement over having discovered a new adventure book series, his irritation at being supposedly sidelined by the new baby at home and his utter disdain over his baby sister gobbling up some pages of his book, feels almost relieved to be sent off to his grandparents’ house for the holidays. Bala’s visit to his grandparents is almost reminiscent of the days we used to camp at grandparents’ during the summer with Paati (grandmother in Tamil) vowing to fatten him during his stay with her lip-smacking delicacies and Thaatha (grandpa in Tamil ) regaling him with stories from the Indian mythology. So when his grandpa narrates the story of Bakasura and his defeat at hands of Bheema, Bala finds himself encountering another monster at Navneet uncle’s Thotadaan (house with a garden) with an insatiable appetite for books! Bala is then constrained to feed the monster many of his favourite books, with a “pun-intended” choice of titles!  But before he runs the risk of having to give up all his books, he thinks of a one-of-a-kind ploy to outwit the book-eating monster, whom he believes to have a striking resemblance to his book-eating baby sister!  Besides being brilliantly written, the author delves into the mind of a young boy  like no one else and showcases the myriad shades of Bala’s world with an indigenous charm that makes it all the more relatable. The book touches upon so many aspects, albeit in a subtle manner -  changing family dynamics with the arrival of a new baby, parents’ paranoia over exposure to television and its transference to the child,  the undivided and no holds barred attention from grandparents, impact of stories on a child’s imagination in turn instilling a passion for reading and books! Priya Kurien’s playful illustrations present a perfect visual context to this original plot that is sure to entertain and engage your young reader this summer! After reading this…don’t blame me if your young reader turns a Bookasura ………..eager for more adventures of Bala! As far as Abhay was concerned, it made him think about only one thing.... I hope the new baby in our house does not eat up my book!:-)


  1. Awesome review of the book. Will definitely read.

  2. Thank you so much! You must definitely pick it up as it's a great read!:-) Incidentally, this review of mine has been picked up by Scholastic and shared on their book promos!:-)