Tuesday, November 19, 2013

India A to Z: An alphabetical tour of Incredible India

India A to Z: An Alphabetical Tour of Incredible India
Authors: Veena Seshadri and Vidya Mani
Illustrations: Sony Bhaskaran
Cartoons: Greystroke
Publisher: Puffin

The name says it all - it is an alphabetical tour of India. So A is for Aryabhatta, a tidbit that most kids don't pick up until fairly late in life, but A is also for Aadhar Card. C for Constitution, D for the famous Dabbas of Bombay, L for the famous Lakes of India, H for hindustani music and gharanas.
A very comprehensive book, it is packed to the gills with information as diverse as seasons, fairs, history (Jallianwala Bagh, anyone?) space travel, mythology, geography and art.

Snippy little passages of a couple of hundred words, introducing you to each concept, and then skipping on to the next. Should a child find something particularly interesting, you can help them look up more from other sources. My kids have enjoyed sticking a finger into a random page and seeing what they come up with, rather than reading it alphabetically. A list of topics in the contents makes it easy to hunt things down.

However, the same delightful randomness that makes it interesting, also makes it a little erratic. One wonders on what basis the topics were chosen, because a couple of them are rather banal. For instance, with the current controversy around Aadhar, will a number of the topics continue to be relevant? While they've tried to go wide, there is a definite leaning towards Hinduism, from teaching the pronunciation of Om, to mythological references galore.

Bright and simple illustrations keep it interesting. A great gift to kids who don't get to travel much, or who love trivia and to desi kids abroad as a peek into the contradiction that is our country.

1 comment:

sandhya said...

Hmmm. Sounds interesting. Checking it out.

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