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Straight off the children's books shelf

From mthyology to cricket to fiction and sci-fi– a look at books you shouldn't miss this winter.

books Updated: May 21, 2012 15:10 IST

Finally, that magical book

For all of us quietly complaining (quietly, because otherwise we'll seem churlish) that the gap between children's books in this country and in the West is huge,

The Puffin Book of Magical Indian Myths

(Rs 499) comes as a pleasant shock and relief. Anita Nair spins her tales with finesse, telling the reader how the sun be- came less fierce, how King Bali lost his kingdom, why Ganga came to Earth. But the illustrations by Atanu Roy that make this splendid book astounding are truly breathtaking. This must-buy book is magical. No other word for it.

The past is a heroic land

Tales of heroes from history have been staple fare for kids for a really long time. One wonders whether there are any 'new' historical heroes to read about. Nimish Dubey conducts this task in

Kesariya Bana and Other Tales of Valour

(Ponytale Books, Rs 125). For those who think that tales of saffronclad warriors and Pathans taking on Shah Jahan is a bit too colourful, grow up. The stories are riveting, and that's all that matters.

Idol murder

In the small town of Antarpur, an idol of a young lady is found in the hollow of a tree. The 13-year-old Kabir and his young friends realise that this idol is that of Regina, a nun who had been murdered 12 years ago. Rahul Srivastava's

Murder On Kaandoha Hill

(Puffin, Rs 195), a 'Three Investigators-meets-Feluda' story, is perfect for under-the-covers reading.

Tech it to the edge

For the more SF-thriller inclined, there's David Thorpe's


(HarperCollins, Rs 250). The protagonists are victims of a virus that causes 'sufferers' to merge with tech devices. Yes, it's pretty cool.

Cyber sailing

More on the tech front,

Shockwave and Other Cyber Stories

(Puffin, Rs 175) is a darned good collection of stories from the cyberzone by writers who know how to spin a tale, like Manjula Padmanabhan, Ashok Banker and Jerry Pinto. The stories are fast-paced, plugged in and perfect for anyone who thinks that stuff like Facebook are passe.

Funny, this eternity

Fantasy fiction in the nature of fun.

The Potion of Eternity

(Puffin, Rs 195) by Sonja Chandrachud has the right doses of hilarity (Count Drunk- ula and an assortment of crazy witches and yogis) and of magic. It's Harry Potter at the Kumbh Mela - with the laughs.

All padded up

With the India-Australia series starting in three days, please, please have this by your side. The excellently produced

Young Wisden


A New Fan's Guide to Cricket

(Puffin, Rs 395) by Tim De Lisle is a young cricket fan and collector's item. Let the games begin.

It's a funny world

Strange are the ways of the world in this book.

Funny Stories

(Scholastic, Rs 150) is no joke; the eight stories here are just fabulously bizarre. There's an army desperately looking for a reason to go to war. And if you think they've got a problem, what about the boy who keeps drifting into wakefulness, and so can't win a camel race. The best for the last (but it actually came first in the book): 'The Boy Who Could Not Complete a'. These are 11 stories that leave you stuck for words, just like the boy who could not complete a...