Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ekki Dokki

Ekki Dokki

By Sandhya Rao

Illustrations by Ranjan De

This folktale from Maharashtra is an old favourite at the mad house and is rather tattered over two and a half years of use. It tells a moral tale in the simple black and white way that most children’s books have.

The story is about two little girls. Ekkesvali and Dhonkesvali are sisters who get their names from the fact that they have one hair and two hairs on their heads respectively; Ekkesvali (she who has one hair) and Dhonkesvali (she who has two hairs). Dhonkesvali or Dokki bullies Ekkesvalli or Ekki and one day, fed up of being bullied, Ekki runs away into the forest. There she encounters a thirsty mehendi bush. She stops to quench its thirst with water from a stream nearby and then comes across a tethered hungry cow. She feeds it grass and sets it free. Walking deeper into the jungle she comes across a thatched hut and an old lady who tells her to apply some shikakai on her hair, oil on her body and then have a bath. Ekki does as she is told and when she is done with her bath and removes her towel, she realises she is blessed suddenly, with a full head of hair! She then has lunch with the old lady and on her way home the grateful mehendi bush applies henna on her hands and the cow gives her fresh creamy milk to drink.

When she gets home and her family sees her thick shiny hair, Dokki is sent off to get some too. What happens next? Does Dokki succeed in her mission? I’ll let you pick up the book for yourself and see. The book illustrates the relationship between actions and consequences without getting into the tricky shades of grey, right and wrong.

I was skeptical when I started reading this book because it was only to the two year old-Brat (the bean was only a few months old) who I wasn’t sure would understand. But he did get the moral implications of the story and he grew to love the book. I particularly liked the hint of humour in some places, such as – “Their mother thought there was no one quite so lovely as Dokki. Their father was very busy. He had no time to think.”

A simple book, with plenty of Indian words and names and images our children can relate to. The mehendi for one, is something they see all around at weddings and parties. The book belongs to a series called the ‘Wordbird’ series where unfamiliar words and ideas are explained with the help of word birds that streak across the pages giving readers access to a multicultural, multilingual vocabulary.

Published in English, Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Marathi and Gujarati by Tulika Books, it is definitely a book to be read aloud.

Recommended age – 3 plus.


Anonymous said...

just came across this site from MM's blog. Lovely site you have going here!

Chox often does book reviews for kids. You might want to hop over and check if you can link to her posts as well. Her most recent review was:

Aathira Nair said...

I have been exploring your site, after hopping over from MM's blog.

Its lovely to see that so much is available for kids and all we end up buying them is the snow white and sleeping beauty fairy tales.

I am keeping this in my treasure box for when I do have kids.

Poppy said...

Barely posted and two comments already :p (TMM !)
Lovely review, I simple love Tulika books and have to force myself to pick up other books for a variety at our home.

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

I remember this story being told to me ..... perhaps in Kannada. Lovely review

Tharini said...


Subhashree said...

Thanks for the review. I'll try to buy this book. Sounds interesting for kids.

Sheela said...

Ah, lovely, wish I had seen it in Malayalam/Tamil when I found The Runaway Peppercorn...

Panchatantra, Jataka, Hitopadesha tales (popular in our household) seem to always convey the point across - by design, I suppose :)

I like the way TMM notes that the book establishes actions and consequences without being terribly preachy.

I second Poppy - although - try not to hit me virtually - some of the Tulika books I came across recently were quite disappointing - perhaps precisely because we have come to expect something superior from them...

p.s: this is also a test, albeit verbose :)

Kiran said...

Hoping over from MM's blog. What a lovely site! Now I know what I would get for my nieces and nephews :) I cant always pamper them with chocolate goodies, right? ;)


Anonymous said...

Nice review. It seems really a nice story between Ekkesvali and Donkesvali. It would be really interesting and fun to read what happens next. Such stories really are fun for children two and teach them what a traditional PANCHATANTRA used to do.

Praba Ram said...

Thanks to the magic of Madmomma, we have more people stopping by to see what's up for review on Saffrontree! :-)

Thanks everybody for your wonderful comments, and an even bigger thanks to Madmomma for the beautiful review of a Tulika classic!

Meera Sriram said...

Looks like my DD will like it (esp since she is fascinated by every hair-involving tale:) Great writing, very lucid. Keep 'em coming!

B o o said...

Its published in Tamil also, MM. Ashu has it! :)
"Their father was very busy. He had no time to think." LOL! Now which mom would nt like that line? :)

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