Thursday, May 03, 2007

Look, the Moon!

Author: Sandhya Rao
Illustrator: Trotsky Marudu
Published by: Tulika
Ages: 0-3

I am now the proud owner of three Tulika books! After reading many rave reviews on this site about Tulika, I was very curious to get my hands on them. So on my recent India trip, I called up their main office and found out two of their popular retailers in Chennai were Landmark and Odyssey(Adyar), the latter being the closest in distance to my in-laws. Odyssey has an impressive collection of childrens' books. But, it was first a little hard to find Tulika and sadly, none of the sales people I talked to had even heard of it. After a little hunt, I found them tucked away in a corner wall in the kindergarten section. It was tempting to grab the entire cubby hole of Tulikas - but once I overcame greed, I picked out two bilinguals and Look, the Moon!. My son absolutely adores the last one, which makes the purchase worthwhile.

Look, the Moon! is a simple soother that celebrates the phases of the moon. I picked this book because my son is in a so-in-love-with-moon phase, and certainly the Sandhya Rao-Trotsky Marudu team did not disappoint him in feeding to that obsession. Rao's free-flowing verse
is charming, and has an effect of a soothing lullaby. Using words like "slice" and "comma", she describes in first person how the moon progressively grows to completion. But does it stay that way? That is what the second half of the book covers.

Marudu's stunning art lifts the book up from run of the mill to one of a kind.


What stood out for me was his depiction of the night sky. One could paint it pitch black with a few white star shapes or one could color it like Marudu does. With shades of midnight blue and black, and varying sized dots for stars, it is a lot more realistic sky. Better yet, it is as close to how a kid armed with color pencils and construction paper would portray the darkness.

What else I loved about this book...
*A lot of Tulika picture books are designed this way - where you can flip the pages and watch the images move for an animation effect. Look, the Moon! is the right kind of book for that as you can see the moon grow in the first half of the book. Very neat way to amuse a toddler!
*I liked that the lines didn't always rhyme, but still maintained a rhythm. This made the book mimic a natural monologue.
*Although the book doesn't claim to do this, I think it would be a great tool to talk about shapes.

What I would have liked to see...
* Although the blurb claims it is for the 3 year and above crowd, it seemed to me that the text and theme would appeal more to the 1-4 age group. For that age, books are handled roughly and publishing with a bound cover would make it more durable.
* Along the same lines, the book was wider than it was tall. Reducing the size to fit it better in tiny hands would make the flipping easier.
* The book ends on a positive note and the very last page is a magnificient spread of the night sky. Here, I would have liked to see the full moon one last time to reiterate what the verse promised.

Last word: A very good bedtime read, especially for those kids who are in awe of the moon.

Rating: 4 bindis.


Praba Ram said...

Happy you were able to find Tulika books for Kodi! Your review was soothing as well, and thanks for this "one of a kind" book!

Books based on moon are so much fun for little ones across every culture! On a different note - In India, moms sometimes feed their babies showing the moon, and I guess for moms here in the U.S., Tulika's Look, the Moon can come handy - (although sometimes, I feed my litttle ones outside showing 'em the sunset during summer months!) :-))

Anusha said...

praba: you are so right! my MIL always complains about how here a 2 yo is expected to feed himself, with a spoon and all..whereas back home we celebrate mealtime with the moon and stories - if she had her way, K would get a classic 'nila soru' every evening!

Tharini said...

Wow. sounds very promising. I enjoyed how you reviewed other aspects of the book which 'could have been, but was not' too. Nicw work!

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