Saturday, April 08, 2017

Maharani the Cow

Author : Christy Shoba Sudhir
Illustrator : Nancy Raj
Published by: Tulika Books

As someone who is constantly in awe of picture book writers and illustrators, it is hard not to take notice, when a few simple and clever and witty books come along your way.

Picture books can get kids to ponder and wonder, inspire and imagine; and best of all, get them to guffaw uncontrollably, providing an endless source of giggles and laughs.

I will be reviewing a few recently published Tulika books, in no particular order, that managed to impress my “Picture Book Picnic” children (that I work with at a local art gallery), just as much as they managed to inspire me.

Maharani, an irresistibly “cool-as-a-cucumber” metro cow has decided to plonk herself on the road, and that too, right in the middle of a typically traffic-heavy city road. Well, what follows is a series of side-splittingly funny scenes as pedestrians, a policeman, school children, and auto drivers try tonudge Maharani to move.

The best part for me about Tulika’s style, and any such simple and clever books, is always the adoption of a no-fuss attitude toward the problem and solution elements. How the “ bovine-stops-traffic”, a frustratingly familiar problem, casually solves itself, much to everyone's relief, forms the crux of this funny tale.

Chirpy words describing the street as dusty, noisy, crowded thoroughly resonated with the children, while Nancy Raj’s illustrations were a delight to pore over down to the last detail. The charming streetscape artworks made the kids sit up and soak them all in. The zooming parakeets flying over the city scene in particular elevated our view to a whole new level.

There’s no way you can't notice the sophisticated presentation of the varied perspectives and views and angles of the cow, and the delightful expressions, sights and sounds, and frustrations of a stream of humans stuck in traffic. The pictures pop out of the page, transporting you straight to a zen-like zone with the gleeful charmer that is Maharani, and yes, you can't help yourself partaking in unseating-her-highness adventure.

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