Sunday, December 09, 2012
Written by: Mita Bordoloi
Illustrated by: Proiti Roy
Published by: Tulika Books
Simple storylines on nature-oriented themes come as a rare and delightful treat in the world of children’s literature. Here’s one recent book from Tulika Books titled Bulbul's Bamboo that captured my attention the minute I set eyes on its title. To me, the alliterative title was good enough reason to pick up the book. But, the story’s cumulative style was a sweet little surprise that was hiding inside its pages.
Bulbuli’s Bamboo stars beloved Bulbuli in her bamboo world. The narrative builds on the use of bamboo in her little world, in all her day-to-day objects. On every page, Bulbuli is busy doing something or the other, with bamboo being the key focal element. Bulbuli sleeps on a bamboo bed. She sits on a bamboo bench by the bamboo bed. Then, she drinks her soup made of bamboo shoots, sitting on the bamboo bench, by the bamboo bed. Well, you get the drift of the text, don’t you? Thus, little by little, we get a peek into her wonderful world of bamboo. Outside, in her yard there’s a bamboo boat, a bamboo bridge….and to top it all, there’s even a bamboo grove.
Each page builds on the previous step-by-step, in little bite-sizes. The text flows perfectly from one line to another, not a bit over-done nor underdone. The narrative, without a glitch, comes back to where it all starts from. In that sense, you can call it a circular tale too. Effortless it may seem, but I always ponder over the process behind creating flawless scripts in this style of story-telling.
The author, Mita Bordoloi, in her debut innings writing for children has hit a home-run through Bulbuli. Bravo! Her connection to Assam has opened yet another aspect of amazing India to children. As always, I thoroughly enjoyed poring over the rich, vibrant colours of the illustrations in this book. Tulika’s illustrators know the knack of creating vibrant art. The lively play on prepositions makes each page a pleasure to read-aloud. In that, the book can be paired as a teacher resource in teaching little ones the right use of prepositions – over, under, beside, on, in etc.
This book could be a good introduction to bamboo for young readers. According to the 10 year old picture book aficionado in the household, the star attraction of the book are the illustrations and the various playful expressions on Bulbuli’s face, as she skips, trots and eventually dreams bamboo dreams. As for the six year old, she has often been caught "lying on a bamboo mat, by a bunch of bamboo sticks" (all made in Assam, picked up at a local craft fair), while reading Bulbuli aloud to me, or to herself alone. The book has struck a deep chord in us, considering we are big bamboo-lovers ourselves.
November 30th happened to be One-Nation-Reading-Together Day, as promoted by Scholastic India. I got an invitation from the Principal of Kangaroo Kids in Chennai, to reach out to the children through a read-aloud session. It was a thoroughly fun for me to bring Bulbuli and her world of Bamboo to a bunch of boisterous little ones.