Book Review: Timmi in Tangles by Shals Mahajan

timmiTimmi In Tangles

Shals Mahajan

Pages: 69

Price: INR 125

Publisher: Duckbill Books

Rating: 5/5

You’re not supposed to judge books by their covers so I decided to love this book, even before I read it, based solely on its synopsis.

Timmi’s life is full of tangles: Her mother expects her to go to school even though she’s a raja; Idliamma eats up all her idlis and everyone thinks Timmi ate them … and why can’t people understand that if you have a giant for a friend you can lift the roof to let the rain in?

And once I actually got around to reading the book, I loved it even more. Timmi is a delightful heroine, armed with bucketloads of imagination and plenty of spunk. Her world is unusual, yet familiar – where she is the Raja of Ramirpur, convinced her mother has been replaced by an evil witch; where she conspires with a friendly giant to lift the roof of her house and let the rain in, so she can get wet indoors; where Idli-amma eats up all her idlis, then dances on her stomach and makes it ache.

Most, if not all, children have their worlds; worlds that may not include the grown-ups; worlds that are very much a part of their day-to-day existence. The only unfortunate part is that most children grow out of these worlds, forget the friendly giants, wave goodbye to the imaginary friend, put away the crown and give up being the king. Reading about Timmi made me nostalgic for my Timmi-ness of yore.

Illustrator Shreya Sen does a stellar job of capturing Timmi’s general wackiness. The book has four short chapters, each as brilliant as the last. The chapter right at the end talks about families and how not all families need to be the same – some may have a perfectly-drawn stick figure mom, dad, daughter and son, while another may have one Timmi, one Amma, one Kamal Mausi who tells Timmi stories and makes yummy food, one Paro Aunty, one toy puppy, one friendly giant and one Idli-amma who loves idlis more than Timmi does.

After reading this book, I can’t imagine anyone not adding Timmi to the top of their list (or very near it) of charming fictional heroines.