Various Authors/Illustrated by Ashok Rajagopalan
Price: INR 200
Publisher: Tulika Publishers
A few weeks ago, I happened to ask my mother how I became such a bookworm in a family of non-readers. Apparently, when I was about four years old, she had brought home a few books from a shop near her office. When she showed one to me, I stared at the pictures for ages. So she used to sit and read out the stories to me while I looked at the pictures in glee. I have absolutely no memory of this. My first bookish memories involve rooting through stacks of secondhand books at one of my favourite places in the city and fishing out a bunch of Enid Blytons. All this while I never thought of how I was introduced to books in the first place.
This recent revelation has reinforced the idea of shared reading as a means to creating young book lovers. And Read Aloud Stories is a great choice for those who want to give picture books a temporary breather. The book is an anthology of 15 stories and poems written by some of the best children’s writers in the country. And, as the title suggests, they’re perfect for reading out loud.
Disclaimer: I am not now nor have ever been a parent. I don’t read children’s books thinking of how much children will enjoy them; I read them purely on the basis of how much I will enjoy them.
The book is a mix of contemporary stories, retold folktales and simple verse. And, speaking from experience, it is a lot of fun reading them out loud. The tales are full of fun sounds, quirky characters and are a blast to dramatically read out (I’m pretty sure that my imaginary audience had fun too). My favourite story of the bunch was the one that came at the very beginning – A Poo Story by Zai Whitaker. It’s not what it sounds like, it’s a hundred times better.
Ashok Rajagopalan’s illustrations really bring the stories alive but the stars of the book are the words themselves.