I found a super book at the Vakil’s Book Store at Prabhadevi a few days ago. It’s called Catch That Crocodile by Anushka Ravishankar and illustrated by Pulak Biswas.
The twins generally love crocodiles (in stories and songs…we have had little success sighting them in the zoo). The book has bold and witty illustrations and the text almost works like illustrations too (will get to that shortly). The story is simple..a crocodile that has wandered into a village and is freaking everyone out…nothing and nobody seem to be able to counter or catch it. Each character that tries provides much entertainment to the reader…be it Probin the Policeman, Dr. Dutta or Bhayanak Singh the wrestler (the twins’ FAVORITE character in the story). The illustrations are lovely…they employ just 3 colors – black, white and green…and only the main characters have the green…all the others are just black and white. The text adds to the illustrations in addition to providing the story line. For example, “Falguni the fruitseller sells fresh fruits. Banana!, Guava!, Mango! she hoots.
So the text grows bigger in font as her voice gets louder. I pointed this out to the boys as we read and they seemed to get it. They were yelling Banana, Guava! Mango! getting louder with each fruit.
Or you have the next page where she says: Come and buy a fresh papayaaaaaaaaaaa!! The text is in a curved lime like the lilt of her voice might be.
There are many more of these along the story.
Also, this book is a fine example of the illustrations saying a lot more than what the words are…So the illustrations actively contribute to the telling of the story and a lot would be lost in the discussion without them. The book has a really nice message too and emphasizes how man and animals can coexist and one has to think of the animal too (the croc has a fairly scared looking expression in places…and it takes one little girl to come forward an acknowledge that he is scared and needs help getting back to wherever he came from – the river).
My boys have been having a blast with the book. They are actually enjoying the clever positioning of text and the use of different font sizes …they have been retelling the story and enacting bits from it (with props that they keep coming up with) Sid was a very realistic Falguni the fruit seller as he strode into the room with his plastic fruit basket on his head. And Nish found his toy syringe to play at being Dr. Dutta. Amu was the obliging crocodile till Dr. Dutta’s pokes got a bit too real so he trotted off and i was made to lie down on the floor instead. And they both wanted to be Bhayanak Singh…so they stripped down to their undies for an authentic wrestler look! This is the first time they are actually enacting parts of a story with so much thought and it is great fun to watch. I like that they are thinking about props too as they do this.
The book has been an absolute delight and i would suggest getting your hands on it if you haven’t already got it! It is published by Tara Books, India.