SUPERBOOK: The Kingdom of Blue Skies | india | Hindustan Times
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SUPERBOOK: The Kingdom of Blue Skies

One of the most joyous, exciting and spectacular modes of story listening is that from your grandmother. Daadi, baa or amma, they have several titles and their stories carry diverse flavours.

india Updated: May 13, 2006 12:41 IST

The Kingdom of Blue Skies
Mayakshi Chattopadhyaya
Price — Rs 45
Publication — National Book Trust

One of the most joyous, exciting and spectacular modes of story listening is that from your grandmother. Daadi, baa or amma, they have several titles and their stories carry diverse flavours.

It feels like looking through this crystal ball and living the imagination that makes the fables. Mayakshi Chattopdhyaya’s The Kingdom of Blue Skies is an artwork; having amma as a raconteur weaving the strands of magical stories for her kids and readers alike.

These tales have charming princes who are handsome, brave and chivalrous Greek gods. Princesses, who descend from the moon, with beauteous form and an angelic face. And then the serpents, who with their gargantuan forms shadow the humans on the earth.

The writer’s introduction is made captivating with the nostalgic tone and well-placed adjectives. Little does the reader realise at the end of it, that he has fallen in the lap of amma. And she transports you to the kingdom of blue skies, the first tale.

From the moon princess to the lotus, hiramon — the talking bird to the serpent king, and the pomegranate prince, it seems like flying on a winged unicorn seeing one world and another.

Amma’s words create narratives that speak of glory of life, dance of time, rhythm of nature, they tell you about hope and courage. Although crafted well with the words, they are the ones that create the first problem.

They come down heavily on the reader’s mind and at times deviate the pattern. What helps here are the brilliant illustrations by Taposhi Ghoshal. They fuse life in the tales and accentuate the interest.

Though it would have been better if the illustrations were in colour. This is what makes legends, myths, of the likes of Aesop and Vishnu Sharma. The reason for this comparison lies in the morals that are given out in subtle poems or prose.

Just like the way amma would tell her children. With her glowing eyes, warm hands and  the smile that is just the best in the world.