- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Pickle Yolk Books (25 December 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 935126940X
- ISBN-13: 978-9351269403
- Package Dimensions: 27.4 x 21.8 x 0.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #86,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Thatha at School Hardcover – 25 Dec 2015
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About the Author
Richa Jha is an India based author, blogger, publisher and picture book enthusiast. She is an independent creator of picture books in English under her PICKLE YOLK BOOKS imprint. Her website SNUGGLE WITH PICTURE BOOKS is the only online platform in India dedicated to picture books. It contains reviews of mostly Indian (but also international) picture books. She is the author of six picture books and has edited WHISPERS IN THE CLASSROOM, VOICES ON THE FIELD(Wisdom Tree), a bestselling YA anthology of short stories on school life which entered the Limca Book of Records 2013 for being the first book in India to have a song penned especially for it. Her book 'The Susu Pals' was shortlisted for the Raymond Crossword Award 2014 in the children's category and won a third place in the popular RivoKids Parents and Kids Choice Awards 2015. Her latest releases are 'Thatha at School', 'Vee Loved Garlic' and 'Love Like That'.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Even with all those assets, there are additional layers to unpack in this book, too. The background scenes could take place anywhere in the "western world", as readers here might assume, and yet they are also authentic for many corners of the world for which stereotypes have shaped young assumptions. The use of specific language (Thatha, dhoti) is seamless, made understandable from context and images without belaboring a glossary or explanation. A child's concern that a grandparent (or parent or sibling or other beloved relation) might be an embarrassment beyond the family's walls is certainly universal. The humor of her attempts and heart-tug of her emotions ring true around the world. As the first book used field notes and other asides to expand meaning, this uses faded school notebook pages in the background of some spreads on which the art is overlaid. It's a delightful challenge to explore the various lines that are readable in places.
I'm always excited to examine new picture books, to discover and share ones that might be overlooked. In this case I'm thrilled to share these with a predominately US following, and to share with you a sneak peak at an author with big things ahead in the American market in years to come. This year at the Bologna International Book Festival, Richa and PickleYolkBooks made their first ever foreign rights sale! Marissa Moss's multi-award-winning Creston Books, US, bought the world English rights to a forthcoming title, The Manic Panic!
Gagan is a happy boy who loves nature and looks at the world with optimism. His brother, Pavan, is mean-spirited and self-centered. When Gagan plays with ants, Pavan calls him Mousey. Gagan’s classmates taunt him with the name Sissy the day he brings his stuffed toy Bingo to Show and Tell. So Gagan asks his mother if he is a boy; she assures him that she loves him dearly and that he is a soft and gentle boy. In his dreams Gagan imagines himself a superhero, but Pavan and his friends continue to try to make Gagan into their own boy image by chasing him with worms, destroying plants, and playing with water guns. Gagan ignores them as he reads and works on his stamp collection. Even his grandfather urges Gagan “to be a man” by playing with toy guns. Gagan feels sad, lonely and isolated.
Things come to a climax when the children at school attend summer camp. At night, Pavan and his friends begin to tell stories of ghosts, goblins, murderers and zombies. They warn Gagan that the trolls will rip his stuffed Bingo apart. When a cat named Scuttie disappears and other mysterious events occur, the children become frightened. Gagan disappears from the story….Will he survive? If he escapes the danger, will the children continue to bully him?
This story reminds me a lot of Charlotte Zolotow’s 1972 book, William’s Doll, which related the tale of a boy who wanted a doll for Christmas because he wanted to practice being a father one day. At the time it was controversial and received mixed reviews because it presented a male character who did not act in accordance with the stereotypical image of an American boy. On the other hand, it was acceptable for boys to play with G.I. Joe soldier dolls.
Illustrations in this book remind me a bit of Mo Willems. The cover gives a hint of scary creatures who are drawn in dark silhouettes. Mischievous children are portrayed with mean faces, while Gagan is happy and smiling. There are some rather scary images, even though they are displayed in a cartoon-like format. Parents of young children might think twice about making this a bedtime story for sensitive children. The lessons of being true to yourself and disregarding gender based stereotypes are valuable. Teachers and parents can use the book as a basis for discussion on many levels. I would recommend the book for children older than age six.