October 26, 2010

Picture Book from Overseas

I had enrolled for the delightful Zoe's Picture Book Swap . She has a giveaway planned, why don't you try it?

Anyway for the swap, Zoe teamed me up with Katie . I felt like I had made a pen pal ( remember those?)! Katie has a wonderful blog which marries her love for kids books and cooking. Each post is a book review and a kid recipe, based on the book read with her two boys.

We received a gorgeous book from Katie. The Monster Who Ate Darkness by Joyce Dunbar; illustrated by Jimmy Liao and from Candlewick Press.
Anushka looked a little anxious with the story's opening. As we went along she enjoyed it and was completely charmed.
A little boy Jo Jo is afraid of the dark and expects a monster under his bed. Yes there is one but a tiny sweet little one it is.Jo Jo does not know it.

The adorable monster develops a taste for darkness and looks for it everywhere and keeps on eating it- under sandwiches and volcanoes, in caves and from the sky and the entire universe.

The moon, the birds and animals ( owls falling out of treetops and bats hanging right side up), people, all find it difficult to live in stark brightness , without darkness. The planet is lonely and sleepless. The monster ( now fat and big) hears a little boy crying since he is unable to sleep. The same little boy- Jo Jo.

The monster cuddles him and rocks him to sleep with a darkness lullaby and slowly the darkness flows out of the monster returning to the places it was taken from.

Finally you see that the boy is asleep peacefully, with the monster back to its former tiny self, nestled in the boy's tight cuddle.

The pictures are lovely and the monster never looks too sinister even when he bloats into a large one. I understand that Jimmy Liao, a Taiwanese illustrator, has used digitally enhanced pen-and-­watercolor graphics.

Here is the author Joyce Dunbar's webpage.

The fear of darkness will not disappear by reading this book but at least it might lessen. Kids may appreciate that night time is there for a reason.

Anushka is not particularly afraid of the dark but she does worry a tiny bit about rakshashas/monsters ( thanks to our Indian mythological tales) despite my telling her they are not real.

The picture of the big monster with the little flower sobbing in his loneliness made Anushka feel really sad. As per her, he did not know he was being greedy or would cause trouble when he ate up all the darkness.

But the final pages made her smile that the "sweet monster was happy and that the boy could sleep well"
She is almost able to read it herself which is a big plus for any book these days.

I sent Katie Karadi's Little Vinayak since I felt she was unlikely to have it, it is Indian yet universal and has a CD to help them pronounce some of the Indian names And Anushka Loves it.

Also sent a book on rotis for kids from a series called Gol Guppu by Tarla Dalal, which though not a great picture book, may make for a good activity for Katie's boys.


Zoe @ Playing by the book said...

What great books, and a lovely post!

sandhya said...

Wow! Its a small world, Art. Katie Fries' blog 'Eat my Words' has been on my blogroll since the postcard swap. Met her at Zoe's and we clicked. A wonderful writer, one that I find to be very innovative in her approach to books and cooking. Actually I had been on her blogroll too, until I went private. Katie, if you read this, I have gone public again. With a different URL and blog name that you'll find at Artnavy's.

sandhya said...

Actually I wonder what Katie would cook-up to go with the book she has sent you, Art?

Gayatri said...

- Nice :)
- Hey today's Young World ( The Hindu - Chennai edition ) had a write up about Saffron Tree :D

artnavy said...

Thanks Zoe

WOw Sandhya!

Gayatri- yes, part of the CROCUS fun- Do visit us and leave your comments

Choxbox said...

nice! and zoe rocks!

can see you are on your way to the coolest kid-lit collection in town :)

and the tarla dalal book sounds interesting art.
i gave away all of mine (not the kiddie ones) to this brit friend before i left london, because she loved indian food. the lord knows i need to get more of them again.

Arundhati said...

Nice :)

starry eyed said...

What a cute monster!!!

Katie Fries said...

Lovely post! I am so happy you liked the book. Since reading this we've become big fans of the books Jimmy Liao has written and illustrated (I have a review of one of his on my blog). His books are a little difficult to track down (here in the States, anyway) but are lovely and delightful reads, quite similar in tone to The Monster Who Ate Darkness.

Sandhya, I am definitely thinking of a way to work a recipe into my post on Little Vinayak! (And, I'm glad to hear your blog has gone public again!)

artnavy said...

thanks all

hmm.. wonder what recipe one can make with Little Vinayak- Indian sweet called pedas shaped like animals maybe?

or veggie carvings of an elephant from an egg plant?

Mama - Mia said...

sounds like such a lovely book. And what fun now that Anush can read! :)

and evens he loves Little Vinayak?! So does Cub. i still tell him that story every coupla dys! :)