Published By: Katha
Story: Geeta Dharmarajan
Illustrations: Nancy Raj
‘Thathu and I never do ordinary things.’
In a Sentence: A little girl talks about her days with Thatha, her grandfather.
What is it About: The warm, wonderful, inexplicable bond that children and grandparents share. Some books have an uncanny ability to draw you into its folds. Long before you realized it, your eyes and lips have broken into a smile, not because the pages say something funny, but because what’s in those pages is a slice of your memory, a leaf from the present, or an element from your ‘I-wish I’d had’ list…Days with Thathu goes a step further. It makes us forget that we are holding a book in our hands and reading it aloud to the little one! This is a book to be experienced, not simply read.
Form and language: Easy prose. Short crisp simple sentences, shorn of any mush or sentimentality, yet neatly getting the deep love between Thathu and the little one across. Just the language in which a child’s mind thinks and articulates: ‘When I love him very very much, I call him Thathu.’; ‘My head on his lap, I sleep.’; ‘When it gets dark, I hold Thatha’s hand.’
What makes it snuggly: The love and bonding, almost magical, between the child and her Thatha comes across effortlessly.
What Stands Out: Nancy Raj’s striking neat line black and white drawings with only one colour standing out prominently in one corner. Also, a most adorable toothless all-smiles grandfather indulging his grandchild!
Will be best enjoyed by: An out and out grandparent-grandchild book. Let us, dear parents, bow out of this race, we stand no chance!
From snuggly to snugglier: With a subject like this, the ‘snugglier’ possibilities are endless. Infinite peals of laughter shared between grandparents and kids, infinite stories, infinite cuddles, infinite secrets…you know what I mean. I’d look like a fool even attempting to get into that territory. But trust Katha to make my life simpler by always suggesting ways of getting more out of its children’s books. This book ends with space for one such activity for them.
And to suggest a couple more, in all humility, here we go: The child could prepare a special scrapbook of her own days spent with her grand parents. Want to make it even more fun for your child? How about you recalling the days with your grannies and gramps, and preparing your own neat little picture book, and adding to the thousands of scribbled art-work already floating around in the house? Kids love these sort of things. With such a heavy grandparent hangover (the book will do this to the most unsentimental of us, honest) this may be your only chance to score some brownie points with your child!
Ha Ha! Quotient: 3
Touches The Heart Quotient: 5
Cuts Through The Clutter Quotient: 4
Visual Appeal: 4
Encore Quotient: 4
Thank God it’s not moral science: 4
Show, don’t tell: 4
Hey, this is a really important book!: 5