If you have a child like mine who adores animals, this little series of books from Tulika (one of the most prolific children’s book publishers in India) will be perfect for you to read to your little one. A quirky cast of characters like Shanmugam the lion, Paytu the pig, Kamalnayan the camel, Hutoxi the horse, and Bahadur the clever baby elephant take your child on little adventures in the jungle, without any of the overly scary images one sees in Panchatantra stories. I’m all for my son hearing tales from the Jatakas or the Panchatantra, and I don’t want overly sanitised stories by any means. But the quality of books that tell the traditional stories are abysmal. I have one book where there is blood and gore on every page and I hastily closed it because I saw my son’s forehead crease with worry and panic when he looked at those illustrations.
This Tulika series by Radhika Chadha is fun, interesting and different and the drawings by Priya Kuriyan bring the whole jungle to life. I think they are available in lots of languages besides English, too.
The other Tulika series we are crazy about are the Gajapati Kulapati books written and illustrated by Ashok Rajagopalan, about a loveable elephant and his village friends. The highlight of the book are the sound effects which leap out at you simply through the text. Can you imagine what Kalabaloooosh could be the sound of? Check them out and see. Hilarious and super fun for kids to read over and over again. Also available in regional languages.
Snoring Shanmugam, by Radhika Chadha, available at all big bookstores and on amazon.in Rs. 165 (approx)
Gajapati Kulapati by Ashok Rajagopal, available at all big bookstores and on amazon.in Rs 122 (approx)