Sep 182012


Published By: Tara Books

Story: Nathan Kumar Scott

Illustrations: Jagdish Chitara


‘I am the fastest animal in the jungle,’ he thought to himself.




The other two books in the Kanchil series:



In a Sentence: Come ye, come see, one and all / Tricks the trickster, this creature small!


What is it About: A simply told (familiar) story + some exquisite artwork = an irresistible book that will keep drawing you to it again and again.


The book is about bringing two great traditions straight into the hands of the readers: that of a foreign ancient popular folklore, and that of the Mata Ni Pachedi ritual textile painting style done by the Wagharis in Gujarat.


The stories of the endearing trickster mouse-deer (Sang) Kanchil have been taken from Malay and Indonesian folklore. The mouse deer are considered to be one of the swiftest and most intelligent animals in these jungles, and the traditional lore weaves them into itself abundantly in interesting ways. Here, a clever snail takes on the challenge thrown open by the overconfident Kanchil to beat him in a race.


What makes it snuggly: Kanchil’s overconfidence and smugness! If you’ve read the blurb on the jacket, you already know that in this story, Kanchil himself is going to be tricked. But it still does not rob the story of its delight, and it’s largely because by this, the third book in the Kanchil series, he’s already established himself as a much-loved rascal!


What Stands Out: Blood red, black and white. And the magic they can weave together page after page. Be it the Mata Ni Pachedi artist Jagdish Chitara’s fine intricate ink-strokes or his abundant splash of (these three) colours, the result is outstanding without an exception.   


Will be best enjoyed by: 5+; art lovers, folk art lovers.


From snuggly to snugglier: Talking more about the Mata Ni Pachedi style of painting (the book ends with a detailed description) with the young readers is a good way to engage them deeper with this story. Children could try creating their own animals in this style. It is also an interesting way to get them to talk about the differences and similarities they observe in the different art forms from our country.

Another fun exercise to do with this book would be to look up the net for the Kanchil tales illustrations done in a traditional Malay/ Indonesean style.

Browse through for more of these stories by Aaron Shepard.

The Kanchil books available on Amazon:

And get upclose and personal with a mouse deer at:


Love Ratings?


Ha Ha! Quotient: 3


Touches the heart: 4


Cuts through the clutter: 5


Visual appeal: 5


Encore Quotient: 4


Thank God it’s not moral science: 4


Show, don’t tell: 3


Hey, this is a really important book!: 4



 September 18, 2012  Posted by at 11:13 am Uncategorized  Add comments

  5 Responses to “The Great Race”

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