We are approaching the end of the academic year and it’s the dreaded exam season in most parts of the country…that happens to coincide with the cricket season, much to the anxiety of ….probably not the kids but their parents! Anyway the only light at the end of the tunnel is that this phase will pass and we will soon progress into the most awaited season for kids ….vacations! While the prospect of a temporary respite from the mad school mornings may be a reason for cheer, given the long summer breaks, parents most often find themselves fretting over how to keep their kids engaged or occupied constructively. With most households having both parents working, the kids’ holiday schedule can get even more hectic than the regular school schedule- driving them from summer workshops to art camps to sports camps and even pre-IIT JEE training programs! Of course….there’s always an option to pack them off to their grandparents’ provided it is convenient and the grandparents are willing to share the load.
Anyway, speaking of going to grandparents’ for the holidays, a recently released book that makes a great summer read for kids aged five and above, is Arundhati Venkatesh’s “Bookasura” brought out by Scholastic Publications. Bookasura revolves around the adventures of Bala and his run-in with the book-eating monster. You can’t help but adore Bala, the young protagonist, who amidst his excitement over having discovered a new adventure book series, his irritation at being supposedly sidelined by the new baby at home and his utter disdain over his baby sister gobbling up some pages of his book, feels almost relieved to be sent off to his grandparents’ house for the holidays. Bala’s visit to his grandparents will remind parents of the days we used to camp at grandparents’ during the summer, with Paati vowing to fatten him during his stay with her lip-smacking delicacies and Thaatha regaling him with stories from Indian mythology. When his grandpa narrates the story of Bakasura and his defeat at the hands of Bheema, Bala finds himself encountering another monster at Navneet uncle’s Thotadaan (house with a garden), one with an insatiable appetite for books! Bala is then constrained to feed the monster many of his favourite books, with a “pun-intended” choice of titles! But before he runs the risk of having to give up all his books, he thinks of a one-of-a-kind ploy to outwit the book-eating monster, whom he believes to have a striking resemblance to his book-eating baby sister!