Saturday, January 23, 2010


Taranauts - The quest for the Shyn emeralds

Author : Roopa Pai
Illustrator : Priya Kurian
Publisher : Hachette India
Age group : 8+

Taranauts is a newly released fantasy book for children, by Roopa Pai (author of Sister Sister series of Pratham Books). The story is set in a completely different universe called Mithya. This universe has eight worlds and each of the worlds are illumined by their very own Tarasuns. It is ruled by an able Emperaza, Shoon Ya. When all seems happy and peaceful in this universe, the evil twin brother of the ruler, by name Shaap Azur spells doom for the inhabitants of Mithya, by capturing the Tarasuns.

Now to free the Tarasuns from the clutches of Shaap Azur, a special task force is formed. These are the TARANAUTS, each of whom is equipped with special powers ! They are the two girls- Zvala and Zarpa and the only boy - Toofan ! Their mission is to cross the various hurdles and solve the riddles set by Shaap Azur, so that the Tarasuns could be retrieved back.

This book is the first of the series, wherein the Taranauts begin their mission with the first World, Shyn (hence the name of this book). The riddles in this book are quite interesting and at an easy level. You have word puzzles, simple number puzzles that you can crack along with (or before the Taranauts!). My son enjoyed doing these and was delighted each time he solved it
before he read on how the Taranauts tackled them.

The conversation between the kids sometimes touch upon simple scientific principles. But these do not stand out as dry statement of theories, but blend well into the story enabling the Taranauts to advance in their mission. I really liked this approach by Roopa. Well, it is not all serious stuff ! There are lots of light moments and fun as the three Taranauts try to gel together as a team :-)

The black & white illustrations are simple, beautiful and very imaginative. They have been done by Priya Kuriyan. Check out her blog, you can see some awesome paintings.

My 7 year old son's experience with this book - We were there for the book launch and he was quite excited with all the book related activities and games that happened during the launch. He felt very special getting a book signed by Roopa Pai herself ! This book was at a slightly higher level compared to the other chapter books that he had been reading. So the progress was
a bit slow. He needed one of us as he sat with the book to read, to comprehend some of the long sentences. At one point I thought that he might lose interest and drop it mid-way, owing to these reasons. But the story was compelling enough to make him go at it steadily and finish it !

He is not much of a talker, so to elicit his feedback for the book I wrote down my questions in an interview format and here are his replies -

1) Did you like the book?
Yes I liked it very much.

2) Which character did you like the most?
I liked Tufan.

3) What did you like about that character?
I liked Tufan because he can blow gentle breeze as well as strong winds.

4)Do you want to read the next book in the series?
Yes I want to read - The Riddle of the Lustr Sapphires.

The interview with Roopa Pai will follow this post.

1 comment:

Choxbox said...

Getting these soon for the fantasy-obsessed in these parts!

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