Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The Dog Who Wanted More: A Rulebreakers' Club Adventure

The Dog Who Wanted More: A Rulebreakers' Club Adventure
Written by Sowmya Rajendran
Illustrated by Arun Kumar Kaushik
Published by Karadi Tales
Ages: 10+

With a title like that, I was intrigued. A childrens' club? A dog? Reminded me of Enid Blyton's Five Find-Outer and Dog series. The five in this book, Jagannathan, Keerti, Monica, Tejas, and Rishi, are certainly five who form the club, but they are minus that all-important Dog. They try everything to convince their parents of the need for one, but they would have none of it. In fact, the parents would have none of many things. So, the logical thing to do was to form a Rulebreakers' Club, and the first thing to do as a club was to steal a dog. Why, a reader would ask, not just adopt one, with so many strays wandering around? Because it is so much more fun to just steal one.

And that is when the fun really starts. For starters, Spike, the dog they zero in on and steal, isn't the epitome of friendliness that they thought he was. He wants more, of everything - mainly attention and food. There was also the question of where to keep him so that he remains hidden. Which is when Rishi, the self-confessed nerd comes up with a brilliant solution - keep him at his Granny's place. Granny, who is partially deaf, and who stubbornly remains in her own house so that she can put on the music of MS Subbalakshmi full blast at any time she wants, and who wouldn't suspect a thing. It turns out to be the perfect solution even for the large amounts of food (7 packets of biscuits at a go??) that they need to feed Spike, with the turn in events that leads to unwitting but complete cooperation from Granny. Between Granny and Spike, though, the children vote on returning the dog to the owners as a better option, and proceed to do so, with unexpected consequences.

How does this come about? What is all that about the reincarnation of Grandpa? What about the people from whom they had ingeniously stolen Spike? Who are they really? What is all that fishy business about the box given to the policeman? And who is the policeman anyway, as he had been caught suspiciously trailing the children and Granny? Why does he come to their school? What happens next?

Sowmya Rajendran has come out with another hilarious book after the popular Mayil books, made even more so by the illustrations by Arun Kumar Kaushik. This one is the first in a series, and all of them seem to have interesting titles, listed at the beginning of this book, published by Karadi. The book is certainly funny, with the language one now associates with Sowmya Rajendran's work. She has also broken many stereotypes. Old, deaf Granny turns out to be a very cool person, even if a bit stubborn in the end. Keerthi wants to be a wrestler, instead of the usual pursuits girls are shown to indulge in, and Rishi the nerd knows how to put his foot down when he needs to even if he insists on excel sheets for any operation, and Spike the dog turns out to be not so friendly even though he looks 'oh so cute and adorable'.

It would have been a great book, but for a particular turn in the story that takes you the way of movie potboilers, and leads to some confusion that a reader needs to read again to unravel, and might become a bit of a drag. Maybe a spot of tight editing would have done the trick, something that would hopefully be addressed in the subsequent books in the series.

Image source: karaditales.com.

I was sent a copy of the book in return for an honest review. 

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