Published By: Katha
Story: Mamta Nainy
Illustrations: Shanti Devi
Well, you can peep into my village through my drawings. Ma tells me they are very good.
In a Sentence: A refreshing, light in tone, warm and non didactic story woven around Madhubani art that is easy for kids to appreciate.
What is it About: Champa, a young girl from Mithila, takes the readers on an armchair tour around her village through her drawings done in Madhubani style.
What makes it snuggly: Champa’s simple words, her enthusiasm to show us around, the bright colours on the pages, and the handmade paper feel of the backdrop.
What Stands Out: That Champa is happy being where she is. She comes across as a spirited girl, bubbling with enthusiasm, comfortable within her environment, and so eager to share it with everyone.
Will be best enjoyed by: Kids between 5 and 7, art lovers, armchair explorers, and anyone with some part of her heart rooted in Mithila.
From snuggly to snugglier: Kids will have fun trying to identify the little little things, objects and items that can be seen in the illustrations. Do these look different from what they are used to seeing in their homes and streets? Can they imagine themselves living Champa’s life?
Also, kids may try doing their own Madhubani paintings around their lives / school /playground / home etc, and then comparing it with Champa’s.
And, for all of us who may have shamelessly forgotten our months as they are in Hindi, well, the publishers have provided an idiot-proof ready reckonor at the end of the book. Let the mammas and papas and bacchas snuggle around the book and get the months right. In the correct order please!
Ha Ha! Quotient: 3
Touches The Heart: 3
Cuts Through The Clutter: 4
Visual Appeal: 4
Encore Quotient: 3
Thank God it’s not moral science: 5
Show, don’t tell: 3
Hey, this is a really important book!: 4
Want to read more?
Text: Bioscope is a story without a story, and yet manages to bring alive an entire village and her folks before us. Champa’s village could be any village in any other part of the country, but for the Madhubani-styled illustrations that give Bioscope its distinctiveness and root it firmly within Mithila (in Bihar). As someone who belongs to Mithila and has spent many memorable vacations in these villages, Bioscope did succeed in tugging at my heartstrings with its vividness of both description and colours. Champa lives as ‘normal’ a life as any of the city kids reading this book: she talks excitedly about what she learns at school, she plays with her friends and sibling, she teaches her mother ABC, she loves sweetmeats, she loves painting, and so on.
What is especially endearing in this story is the way Mamta (subtly – and full marks for it) shows the happy co-existence of man and nature, which is something the city kids tend to ‘learn’ about only in theory: the ease with which Champa talks about Kalia the snake, the way she hears Kokila the Koyal speak with the other koyal sister, and other such details which are sprinkled generously throughout the book.
Visuals: Champa mentions at the outset that the images that she’s sharing with us have all been done by her. Shanti Devi deserves high credit for having retained a childlike simplicity to the authentic Madhubani style of art. Though she has not added very many extra elements to supplement the words, she has created engaging frames that give a delightful peek into Champa’s home, or the extra to
Where Shati Devi does put in extra details, the results are
The vibrancy of the pages strikes the eyes in a nice sort of way, the fluorescence and choice of contrasts et al.