Friday, July 26, 2013

Up Down

Up Down
By Vinayak Varma
Tulika Publishers
Ages 3-6
Bilingual: available in English-Bengali, English-Hindi, English-Kannada, English-Tamil, English-Telugu

Books written and illustrated by the same person have a special appeal. There are very few of these among children’s books published in India. Up Down is one of them.

When I chanced upon this unassuming little book years ago, I fell in love with it instantly.

Little Appu wants to play on the seesaw. But who will sit on the other side? A grasshopper? Or a mouse? Or ...? ‘A wonderfully simple approach to the concepts of light and heavy, up and down,’ the blurb on the website says.

Simple in retrospect, as Edward Teller famously said. Once you see it, you wonder why no one thought of it before. That is how it is with all ingenious ideas.

At the time we read the book, the kid was reluctant to make friends, preferring to play with his parents instead. We had tried convincing him that playing with peers would be more enjoyable. So the “seesaw story” struck a chord with him.

The illustrations depict motion beautifully and add a zing to the catchy repetitive text. The kid cackled at the sounds the animals let out when they went up in the air. The animated Appu is adorable; the bare-chested look succeeds in making him even more lovable.

I have lost count of the number of times the child had this book read to him. When he graduated to reading by himself, it was one of the first books he read. Since it is a bilingual, I’m sure we will revisit it very soon and I’m looking forward to it!

[Image source]

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