Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Rooster and The Sun

The Rooster and the Sun
Story and illustrations by Meren Imchen
Age Group: 3 to 6
Region: India, Asia
Publisher: Tulika

The North East is one of the most beautiful, most engaging, most fascinating parts of our wonderful country. Shrouded in mystery, you won't get to know the North East unless you make an effort. One that I made after I headed out of my small town, headed to Delhi and met a variety of people from the North Eastern States. Positive that I didn't want my children to grow up as ignorant of the North East as myself, I hunted around for children's books and was shocked to find little until I chanced upon this folk tale from Nagaland.

I love how our folktales treat objects of reverence so lightly and in this particular tale, a farmer, sweating it out under the hot sun angrily tells the sun to go away so that he can work in more pleasant conditions. The hurt and angry sun goes away and the farmer goes to bed. Of course he oversleeps because the sun doesn't rise the next day.

The story goes on to talk about how the farmer realises the error of his ways and sends emissaries to lure the sun back. They all fail and finally he sends his good for nothing rooster. How the rooster lures the sun back and why the cock crows at dawn is what the tale is about.

Simply told and written in Hindi as well as English, its a good way to teach children to read in both languages. It is also available in combinations of English with Tamil, Kannada, Bangla and Telugu.

The illustrations are based on the author's animation film and simple yet brilliant. Attention to detail in the illustrations is something that fascinates me and is particularly important to me in a children's book because children are greater observers. A little snake peaking out of the corner, a fox behind the tree and the children are poring over the pages, grubby fingers tracing the patterns, soaking it all up.

It's a pity we live in the city because its the kind of tale that is so easy to believe and the Bean often wakes up in the morning, looks out at the sun and then looks at me quizzically and says, "But where's the rooster?!"

15 comments:

Kodi's Mom said...

:) :)

my favorite part of your review was this - "folktales treat objects of reverence so lightly" - exactly how kids treat them!
thanks for sharing this unique find, MM.

ChoxBox said...

you are right MM. stories based in the NE are almost impossible to find.
and kodi's mom said the rest :)

the mad momma said...

:) thanks guys

Poppins said...

I like all the "gyaan" bits in your review the best ! I remember reading this story and enjoying it - time to bring it back and look at it with your review in mind..

Mama - Mia said...

:)

great review MM!

and this time the place we went to had whole lotsa roosters who kept crowing pretty much through out the day and night! :p

cheers!

meera sriram said...

"Attention to detail in the illustrations is something that fascinates me and is particularly important to me in a children's book because children are greater observers" - THAT IS SO TRUE. I am always at a loss when my daughter points to illustrations not consistent with details in the story or even with the prev. page:)
Thanks MM.

utbtkids said...

MM, we have this book in Tamil. The kids LOVE it and I love it for the illustrations. I greedily googled Meren Imchen to look at his other works, but unfortunately apart other than his other Tulika illustratio's(Avneet aunty's phone), I couldn't find any.

DDmom said...

Finally, a book that I own, courtesy UTBT.
This was an instant hit at home turf, however one question that keeps popping up every time is - Where is the edge of the world? You said earth is round. What will happen if the rooster went to the end and fell down?

utbtkids said...

@DDMom, at our home, the question is, "This is not fair, the farmer must apologize to the Sun. He cannot send his animals." Sense of fairness at age 4, happens when you have a younger sibiling who charms her way out of soup.

Praba said...

From Karnataka to Nagaland - what a magical journey, folks of folktales!

Loved this, MM! - "Shrouded in mystery, you won't get to know the North East unless you make an effort." - What a neat thought and how enriching an exposure you are giving your kids! Kudos!

We have one by Tulika that is from Sikkim - The King and the Kiang. Will have to review sometime.

Thanks!

Sheela said...

Sounds like neat book - and you are so right about children being observant - they pore over the details in illustrations, asking questions we adults don't bother with :)

the mad momma said...

Meera - very true! I am often staring at a glaring inaccuracy in terms of pictures and missing it, but the kids point it out immediately which is why its so important to have someone who really cares, do the illustrations.
Dottie - there's more waiting for you at my brother's place!
utbt - didnt you find avneet aunty very disappointing?
praba - you must review it and i must hunt for it...

B o o said...

at last a review of a book we own! :) Its one of Ashus fav book. Mine too. The jungle illustration were indeed awesome. Ashu shivers slightly when we come to that page! :)

utbtkids said...

@Mad Momma: Reg Avneet aunty, a serious let down.

I raved about Tulika to all kith and kin and ordered online and in general made a huge deal out of it. So I had a bunch of books, I haven't read myself. I hand Avneet aunty to my aunty after the big intro speech and she reads it and goes, "W.H.A.T is this? Is there an allegory that I am missing?" I didn't know what to say :(

the mad momma said...

oops- DDmom - big 'mistook'. I speed read it as dotmom :) apologies.

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