Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I am Different !! Can You Find Me?

Text and Illustrations by Manjula Padmanabhan
Published by Tulika

3-6 years

Sometimes when I talk to other parents about kid books and reading, I hear a despairing wail - But my child doesn't like to read! He/She is too fidgety/uninterested/prefers other activities whatever. And it stumped me. Until I had another child who was exactly the opposite of my first one. The little one seems to think that it's a waste of time to actually read books when, why you can easily do something more exciting, like say - tear/chew/throw the book ! (Horrors!)

So it's been a challenge to get her interested in reading and I'm still working on that. One way is to probably pick less wordy books, maybe even a wordless book like Tuesday or Flotsam. Or get books with textures or Peek-a-boo books - there are so many in the market. Once my child is old enough to follow a story, then I would get a book with a simple story and narrate instead of read.

One such book that could help a reluctant reader is this one. It's a simple Picture-Puzzle book and each page is an exercise in finding the 'odd one' out. For example in this picture, there's only one 6 point star while the others are 5 point ones.

So that's one thing, most children like to pore over pictures and find the different looking one. And the fun part is this, what's different to you may not be different to me, there are really no 'correct' answers (although there's an answer guide at the end of the book).

Then there's the text, each page has just one line, but in a different language. So there are a total of 16 languages all asking the same thing - 'Can you find me?' There's Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Persian, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Oriya, Bengali.. all written in their own script (with the pronunciation in English underneath) So that's the next point of interest - figuring out how the same thing is said in all these different languages, some that are even written from right to left instead of the conventional way. It's great fun to try to say them, since children seem to love unfamiliar words. Bonus is for the child to learn the names of so many languages that are spoken in India.

My older daughter has picked up some of the lines from this book and now claims that she knows that language! It is quite hilarious but also heartening to see her want to speak another language in an increasingly English Centric India. My younger one? Will just poke the pictures, and babble along with her sister as she tries out the odd sounding words. Try this book if you have a reluctant reader at home and do let me know how it goes.


Choxbox said...

Love this book!

My kids asked for a 500 Rs note and compared with the book to see if they could match the gazillion scripts!

utbtkids said...

Wow, how interesting!

We have played with I spy books or find Wally at home, but this is nice.

I wish they had Tulika books in our libraries. One can only buy so much. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

This book sounds fun! Thanks!

ranjani.sathish said...

Nice pick Poppins mom ! I think my 3 year old will like this book.

starry eyed said...

Oh, wish I'd known abt this book all the years I was struggling with my son. He's only recently become a 'convert' and sits quietly with books now at age 4!

And agree with utbt, wish libraries would stock these kinda books.

Choxbox said...

@starry: but they do!

@utbt: just today i found this book called 'find hanuman'. exactly like 'find wally', only each page is a scene the ramayana. awesome it is :)

utbtkids said...


the unique and ever growing source of all things good in kiddie literature and related stuff,
I prostrate at the feet of thee.

Keep me in your circuit and let me tap the bountiful knowledge, correct me if I waver from my path or make much ado about nothing.

Seriously is there anything that you don't know?!!

Praba Ram said...

Yet another neat concept from Tulika - bundling puzzle/language concepts. Thanks for sharing, Poppy. Loved the way you have neatly sprinkled your children's reading experiences.

Yes, we have a copy of this very unique book;also gifted one to my daughter's school library along with a few more children's books from Des. :-)

Tharini said...

I have a reluctant reader on my hands. Would have loved to try this out. You have such a neat way of presenting all the goodies inside the book, that charms the kids. Great pointers, thanks!

Sheela said...

Poppy, you are right about finding the right books to get the kids interested - as not all kids share the same personality and interests... and this book sounds like a great find! Reminds me of Who's Hiding? by Satoru Onishi which also has little questions/puzzles on each page with very few words.

Lavs said...

Good one Poppy----I have a question. Did you pick this book out for Poppins or sweatpea??

If it was for sweatpea, then did you deliberately pick it to get her engaged as i can see the recommended age as 3-6 years???

The reason I am asking this question is that I have avoided picking out books(though i would have loved to have them)which have higher age recommendations than LB's age.

LB is not a reluctant reader-he is a moody reader. If his mood demands, he would sit with his books, point out stuff, learn new words and meanings from me and even point out real life examples. But if his mood is not conducive, no book can tempt him.

Am I missing out stuff by avoiding higher age books?Advice pls

PS: I second UTBT, choxbox-seriously is there anything you do not know....I am so glad this place can fully utilise your kiddie literature knowledge.

utbtkids said...

Lavs, lots of times recommendation is just that. You have to let the child decide.

At our home turf, we swing both ways in terms of age recommendations. I sometimes pick 'recommended for 6 or 7 year old children' books for my older one who is going to be five. But it has to be a topic that interests her. Plus I sit there and work with her on the book. Then we develop it from the initiative she shows. When she is by herself, she just looks at the pictures or reads a few simple sentences and so on. She also equally enjoys the books two - three year olds like.

Same for my 3.5 year old. She likes the basic touch and feel books for toddlers as well her sister's books.

I would say in terms of development, children are constantly in a stage where they are ready to go to the next stage, but the next stage is a little intimidating, so they fall back to a stage they have already passed for reassurance. Cycle of regression and development. I would say the same applies for books too.

Come on Lavs, cross boundaries, let LB make his own definitions.

sole said...

Would love to get hold of this book. Thanks Poppy.I think both of mine will enjoy this one.

Second utbt, wish we had Tulika books in our library. Have heard so much about them from chox and NM.

Poppins said...

@Chox: OH I love that idea of the 500/- note. Shall try it!
@Utbtkids: I Spy, yes I should have mentioned those as well - we love them.
@Explorekids: Thanks and you are welcome!
@Ranjani: Yes do try it!
@Starry: Oh believe me I'm still struggling to find books that will hold sweetpea's interest. At her age, Poppin was enjoying Dr. Seuss.
@Praba: I wish I could get out of my Tulika mindset but I'm usually delighted with their books that I keep going back to them :-)
@Tara: :-) Hope he likes it
@Sheela: And yet this simple thing did not occur to me until recently, I thought there were some kids who were always going to be non readers.

Poppins said...

@Lavs: What Utbtkids said :)
@Sole: Yes, you could get someone to send it from India I suppose though.

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

Loved the description. You folks are really great in reviewing some lovely books.

Poppins said...

@Lavs: To answer your Q - since I have the older one at home I pick books of all ages (upto 6). I do sometimes pick even older but mostly I end up picking 6 and below. Now from the review of Cauvery I myself learnt that I could pick books from other age groups.

But when Poppin was born I'd already bought a collection (of Dr. Seuss primarily - try it, you just can't go wrong) and other older books. I would introduce them at intervals. A book that she didn't look at a few months ago would suddenly capture her interest.

To make a long comment short, if you like it, try it - there's no harm. If he likes it great - there's no telling what they will like. No forcing though. Key is to associate books with great memories and soon they will look towards it for entertainment.

A journey called Life said...

My son (now 2.4yrs old) also had the same issue, he would tinker for hours on end, do puzzles and crayon, but when it came to books, he would fidget and walk away. Some how I so badly wanted him to read, being an avid reader myself. For a while, I just let him be.

'Im Differnt, can you find me' was one of the first Tulika books (ohh how i love them all, i think i buy them more for myself than him- call me juvenile) I got him and he liked it, coz the idea of 'puzzles' or 'fnding things' appeals to him. He has since then taken an interest in books and reading, needless to say, I love the change.

This said.. I simply loved your recco and review.. Thanks so much..Poppins Mom

Poppins said...

@AJCL: Thanks so much for posting this - very heartening!

Poppins said...

@CA: Thanks !

DDmom said...

My 2 year old still has a liking to these kind of books and gets supremely excited when she spots the matching one's.
This one sounds very interesting, especially repeating the same line in different languages. What a wonderful way to tell them there are more than 3 or 4 languages that they are familiar with.

Monika said...

wow this sounds very very interesting will see if I can pick it up for ojas he loves the books that make him do something :)

Uma said...

This sounds very interesting. I recently picked up a handful of Tulika books, I don't remember seeing this one though (and the other one I really wanted but didn't find was 'The Never ending story'). Am making a note for the next trip.

Subhashree said...

Poppy, you got mentioned in Tulika's newsletter :)

starry eyed said...

Hey, just wanted to tell you that I've got the book, and both my kids love it! The 8 year old is reading it to the 4 year old and they're both so thrilled with the new languages! Awesome concept and artwork!

Poppy said...

@DDMom: You should totally get it then.
@Monika/Uma It's a really interesting book - we love it here
@Subha: I know - was chuffed :)
@Starry: Yay! Somehow knew Dhruv would like it.

Sheela said...

What a simpe and neat book! We just got this book, thanks to my parents, and the toddler loves it! I had to hide it for a while and bring it out again as after the first few reads, he just automatically points out what's different - "no dots on lizard", "eyes closed" etc. :)

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