Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The 13th Riddle

Title : The 13th Riddle
Author : Nadine D'Souza
Illustrator : Ajanta Guhathakurta
Publisher : Tulika Books
Ages : 6+

Piloo Paheliji is the mayor of a modern progressive town and considers himself the smartest man around. As his name suggests, he loves Pahelis (Hindi name for Ridddles).He loves them so much, that he keeps asking people riddles and gets a smug satisfaction when they fail to answer them. He has also declared one day of the year as "Riddle Day", when he throws open a riddle to all the people of the town, in the morning. The one who answers it correctly by evening will be rewarded. But for twelve years it has so happened that no one has been able to answer the riddles correctly.

The thirteenth year of the riddle day dawns. Paheliji decides to place an attractive reward, which people will find hard to resist. He offers the post of the mayor to the winner! In his usual way he begins his speech to the people and just as he is about to ask THE question, an interruption comes in the form a bright young boy. Irritated, Paheliji asks the boy his name and what does he get in return ? A riddle, to answer that question. Taken aback, Pahelji further questions the boy, only to get riddles in answers. Paheliji is totally stumped. The man who is used to asking riddles, is now forced to think and answer them. What happens next ? Does the "smartest man" in town lose to a little boy ? Does he lose the title of the Mayor? Read the book to get your answers !

This is a very simple and refreshing book, that will be enjoyed by the little ones. The answers given by the boy disguised as riddles, are quite cleverly thought out. In his speech, Paheliji talks about how he is excited that day, because thirteen has always been his lucky number. This subtle positive reference to a number, that is in general considered unlucky by so many people around the world, impressed me.   

The illustrations are very catchy and Paheliji's funny expressions have been very well captured.The book might just spurn your own little one to become a Paheli-wali or Paheli-wala :-)

Note : This was a review copy received from Tulika, but the views expressed are solely mine.


Rachna Chhabria said...

Sounds like a great book. Piloo Paheliji is a cool name :)

Choxbox said...

Sounds delicious R.

Tulips should seriously look to stock their books outside India too!

Choxbox said...

(autocorrect is the culprit)

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