Mangoes, Mischief, and Tales of Friendship—Stories from India
By Chitra Soundar; illustrated by Uma Krishnaswamy
Format: Hardcover, 192 pp.; ill.
Age Range: 6-10 years
Publisher: Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2018
These are tales inspired by traditional Indian folktales. Prince Veera and his best friend Suku are given the opportunity to preside over the court of his father, King Bheema. Some of the subjects’ complaints are easy to address, but others are much more challenging. The messages are of kindness and compassion, and for speaking up when things are unfair.
Soundar’s energetic prose and wisecracking dialogue sparkle and Krishnaswamy’s acrylic folk-based illustrations of characters and nature dance across almost every page. Like any folktale, this book is best when shared. Read aloud, the adventures of Prince Veera and Suku will surely captivate first- through fifth-grade classrooms, the dilemmas providing excellent opportunities for critical thinking. Independent readers ages 8–12 are likely to delight in the boys’ clever solutions, not to mention their ability to confound and outwit adults.
—Shelf Awareness for Readers (starred review)
These original tales are folkloric in style and content, but refreshingly contemporary in tone and form. The messages are of kindness and compassion, and for speaking up when things are unfair...the illustrations balance traditional Indian art forms with cartoonlike gestures that will make readers smile.
Krishnaswamy’s energetic black-and-white spot art offers authentic glimpses of Indian life, with illustrations of people, birds and animals, the marketplace, the countryside, and more. Readers who are familiar with traditional Indian folktales will recognize these well-known stories; readers new to them may enjoy their quiet simplicity and the wisdom of the two young protagonists.
—Kirkus Reviews Online
It’s a little risky—even benevolent kings do not like being proved wrong—but in these stories for 6- to 10-year-olds, ingenuity and good sense help the boys prevail. Veera and Suku are a great team: In between gorging themselves on buttery sweets such as laddus and jalebis, and wolfing down mango pickles with fried fish and rice, the two boys solve mysteries, expose swindlers and humble the arrogant... These lively tales benefit from Uma Krishnaswamy’s playful monochrome illustrations
—The Wall Street Journal
This is the most wonderful little book. Under two hundred pages, it is loaded with wisdom, common sense, and the notion of fair play. What makes this all the more charming is that it is all being dispensed by a ten-year-old Prince and his best friend.
I would recommend these stories to everyone of all ages as there is so much to be learned and reinforced. Buy a copy for a young person, read it to children, and take the time to enjoy all its messages.
Delightful! Nothing is more helpful to learn about other cultures than fables meant to teach children. You get a simple understanding of complex ideas, plus there are beautiful illustrations and fun characters. The themes addressed in this book are great lessons for readers of all ages and would make a great read aloud for any classroom or bedtime. I look forward to adding this book to my personal collection.
A fun book with a global perspective. I know several of the tales from other folkloric traditions, but the retellings here are definitely Indian. A fun global offering; recommended for 7-10-year-olds.