Art, Books, Reviews

Magic Mondays – The Magic of Mouse Deer and Moby Dick

One wonderful hot deal I just saw: The eBook of Zeb and the Great Ruckus by Josh Danellan is on sale for the next 48 hours on amazon –   My review of this amazing book is here.

For the next 48 hours, the Zeb ebook is only $0.99 from the Amazon store. That’s only one cent for each one of Jay-Z’s problems!

Saving Each Other by Victoria Jackson and Ali Guthy (review copy from publisher)
Following romances which I will review hereCheckmate, My Lord by Tracey Devyln
(digital ARC)  Next on my list to read:
The Bracelet by Roberta Gately (review copy from publisher)

Murder in Mumbai (digital RC)Following romances which I will review here

NaBloPoMo prompt for today:
What is your biggest concern about the future of the environment?
My biggest concern is that there are not going to be enough of any of the natural resources for our future generation(s) – and the concern is also more immediate – that it will not be enough in our and/or our children’s lifetimes itself. Even if it is not going to be so soon,  this is something we all need to worry about. And I sometimes become a paper-nazi or a water-nazi at home, quite like Seinfeld’s soup-Nazi where I say ‘No more paper for you’ to someone at home. And yes, I also avoid printing as much as needed, ask the school if they really cannot switch to sending all notices/paper work through the internet instead of in folders on Fridays (and in case of families with siblings in school, we have two copies of all such notices).




Both these books are works of art and at the same time tell delightful stories of a sweet trickster, Kanchil. Kanchil is a mouse deer who survives by his wit. He is small, and he is smart.  The text is simple enough to read to younger kids while still being lively and entertaining. Reading it was like listening to my grandmother telling me the story (and she was and is a wonderful storyteller).  Short and crisp dialogs reveal the personalities of the characters very well. My son pointed out how different the characters were as he turned the pages of the book. The traditions of the Kanchil trickster tales as well as a brief look into the art used in the book are provided at the end of each book.
Both art styles used in each of the books are used for the very first time to illustrate a children’s book and even though they are so different, each of them complement Kanchil’s tales superbly.

Mangoes and Bananas
Nathan Kumar Scott (Author), T. Balaji (Illustrator)
– In this book, Kanchil and his friend Monyet the monkey decide to plant a garden so they will never run out of their favorite fruits to eat – Kanchil’s favorite mangoes and Monyet’s much-loved bananas. Once the fruits have ripened, a dilemma arises – only Monyet can climb to get the fruits so they decide to share half of each of the fruits. But once Monyet stops playing fair. Kanchil uses his wits to trick Monyet. What he does and how he does is sure to bring many giggles.
The Kalamkari art, with its subdued yet gorgeously detailed drawings, by T.Balaji complements the text like they were made for each other.  A brief description of the art style –which is a traditional art in South Eastern India – is provided at the end of the book. You can also create your own Kalamkari art using the step-by-step instructions for a sample drawing which are also given at the end of the book.

The Sacred Banana Leaf 
Nathan Kumar Scott (Author), Radhashyam Raut (Author)
– Kanchil, lost in the bliss of eating yummy rice-cakes, is not watching where he is going (and my daughter was doing exactly that when she was reading this page – much to her delight! – she stopped reading whilst walking, turned around to me and pointed out this coincidence so I told her to watch her else she might end up like Kanchil did right after!) and ends up in a pit. How is he going to get out of the pit? Of course,by using his wits – he soon tricks Ular the snake, Babi the boar, and Harimau the tiger into the pit – and devices a way to get out himself.
This book is illustrated using the Patachitra art style by Radhashyam Raut. This art style is from the state of Orissa in north India. Patachitra art uses bright colors (traditionally red, yellow, white, blue, black were used) with fine details in the drawings.  The end of the book teaches readers a game of ganjifa they can play by making Patachitra cards using the Kanchil characters from the book.

These books thus combine amusing stories from Indonesia(Malaysia) with beautiful traditional art from India – both these countries are close to my heart – India of course, being where I am from, and Indonesia – because my dad spent many years working there and I spent a couple of brief holidays there which were wondrous to say the least.
I look forward to more stories that are as wondrous from Nathan Kumar Scott and illustrations from around India as well.

My attempts (first drafts) at Kalamkari art (on the left) and Patachitra art (Ural the snake on the right). I hope to get a better and colored version completed soon and maybe a whole set of cards for the ganjifa game.


Rating: A+ (for both)
Reading Level: 5 years and above
Reread Level: 5/5
Disclaimer: I received the books from Tara Books. My reviews of the books are my own honest opinions of the books.  I just happen to love them!

Cozy Classics: Moby Dick [Board book]
Jack Wang (Adapter), Holman Wang (Adapter), Herman Melville (Author)

I previously read the Cozy Classic version of Pride and Prejudice and was impressed – I fell in love with the totally adorable photos of the needle-felted characters and scenes. Moby Dick is as delightful as well. Again, the creators of this series use twelve words paired with these unique felted illustrations to bring their youngest readers the story of Moby Dick. Familiarity with the original story does help a lot but at the same time, this book does help in introducing these classics and instill a love of literature in the young. Adults can retell the story any which way, many different ways, or the very same way each time they open the book. My favorite illustration here is of the ship and my favorite word – crash!

There are two more Cozy Classics (Les Miserables and War and Peace) coming out this year and I am looking forward to these.  These are great gifts for adults who love classics and definitely for parents of infants and toddlers who are looking for great books to share with their young ones. A 3D experience without the need for glasses:)

The website includes some more information for each book – a cozy version of the book if you need some help with relating the story, cast information, quotes from the book, as well as tips for parents to tell the story. Cozy Classics brings a wonderful new dimension to board books.

Rating: A
Reading Level: 0+
Reread Level: 5/5 (I am sure the little ones will be rereading this book many times over)
Disclaimer: I had the digital ARC from NetGalley and received the actual board book from Jack and Holman Wang (thank you for this delightful addition to my library). There was no requirement to review or to provide a favorable one. This review is my honest opinion of the book. I just happen to love this book!

For my Monday kid’s books reviews, the books reviewed here today go towards the weekly meme at Jen and Kellee’s – and What are you reading? From Picture Books to YA

For What are you reading? @Book Journey
Completed reading:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Books reviewed here today
Following romances which I will review here
The Reluctant Earl by C.J.Chase 

Currently reading:
Secret of the Nagas by Amish (Personal copy)
The Traveling Restaurant by Barbala Else (digital RC) 
Superman and the Poisoned Planet (digital ARC)
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Chloe’s Vegan Desserts (digital ARC)


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