Archive | May 2014

Junior Kumbhakarna by Arundathi Venkatesh

I had never seen kids in the chooku booku compartment laughing so much. The moment I said Junior Kumbhakarna my son Aarav couldn’t stop giggling. Reason being he snores a lot due to his protruded jaw issues and we at home make fun of him saying you snore like Kumbhakarna.

It had been only few months since he stopped asking me for Kumbhakarna’s story every night before he slept. So Kukku for Aarav was a character he could immediately connect to.

Darshan a child of 12 years giggled too I asked him why he said “that picture!” I said “what about it?” Darshan- “i look just like kumbhakarna☺”

While two year old Sarayu waited for me to start five year old Ansh was also curious to know what the story is all about.

We began as usual with reading the name of the book and then the author and the illustrator. Shreya Sen and Arundathi Venkatesh hats off to you both for this wonderful book.

JK is a Mythological story retold in a simple and hillarious manner. Kukku the little boy like most of the children wants his appa (dad) to tell him the story of K. Dad begins the story and mid way Kukku goes to sleep and dreams of donkeys braying, trumpets, drums, soldiers and elephants walking all over to wake up Kumbhakarana who has been sleeping for six long months.

What happens in the end is something so hilarious. Kids in the room enjoyed making crowns and kumbhakarna moustache. We even made rava laddoos. And thanks to Darshan who said “aunty shall I sleep like KK and let other kids try and wake me up,” it was sooper fun doing this. Here are some pics. Waiting for Arundathi’s next book.

Oh after the session my son wanted the whole Kk story and also what his name meant.

For those who don’t know Kumbha is pot, a kind of water pot;Karna is hearing.

For story visit



Giraffes can’t dance by Giles Andrae

giraffes 1

Lesser the crowd always the better! Today for our reading session there were only five kids and oh what fun we had. Most of them who were there today were of Aarav’s age and they were just going to start school in few days. With school would come bullying and teasing etc.
This brilliant book ‘Giraffes Can’t Dance’ by Giles Andrae was something which kids could immediately connect to.
The illustrations and rhymes in the book are outstanding. The theme of, be yourself and listen to your own inner music is just fabulous and connects immediately to a child who is above 3 years.
We began the session with first talking about how Giraffes’ have long neck! What are some of the advantages with that long neck?
The story line was quite simple. Gerald the Giraffe was very good at ‘standing still and munching shoots off trees’. However, what Gerald wanted to be good at, but was most definitely not, was dancing. At the annual Jungle Dance the warthogs did the waltz, the rhino’s did the rock and roll and the chimps did the cha cha cha. But Gerald simply froze on the dance floor, to the amusement of his friends that were shouting ‘Giraffe’s can’t dance!’.
A somewhat sad and lonely Gerald found himself gazing up at the bright
shining moon, listening to a wise and friendly cricket. The cricket says that dancing is all about the music and that maybe Gerald hadn’t found the right song yet…. The night evolves into a triumphant encore performance by Gerald, shocking his jungle friends with his new found dance vocabulary.
The bright and colourful, fun book didn’t take time to engage the reading room kids. The youngest being Avyukt , three year old could immediately connect to not only the theme but also enjoyed the eloquent rhyming text that rolls off the tongue.
The beautiful illustrations in the book helped to carry the story when reading it aloud to kids in chooku booku. The book which opened beautifully explaining about Gerald caught every child’s attention effortlessly.

When I read: “Gerald was a tall giraffe
whose neck was long and slim.
But his knees were awfully crooked
and his legs were rather thin.”

All of them burst into laughter just like the jungle animals. But as the story progressed  I could see that tension and sadness in the eyes of three year old Avyukt, five year old Aarav and even 12 year old Darshan. When animals booed the Giraffe they wanted to immediately know what Gerald did. And finally when we read about the helpful cricket and how the Giraffe started dancing and all animals were awestruck there was a sense of relief in Parinita’s eyes. Aaarav laughed to glory and they all agreed that the book had such a positive message and how its ok to be different.
The story promotes exploration into self-confidence, self-esteem and individuality. I explained Darshan and Aarav later about how the book talks about different dance styles; the waltz, the Scottish reel and the tango. It was soon the time to have some art fun! We made our own giraffes on a canvas paper and they all had so much fun doing it.
Check out the pics here:



The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle


When my 4 and half year old said “mama please let’s read Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ ” I was a bit irritated. This might be the 20th or 30th time he is reading this book and now he wanted it to be read for his Chooku Booku friends. The moment I refused he started giving me reasons why it should be read to his young friends :

1. It’s one of my favourite authors.

2. Look at the bright illustrations any child would love it.

3. One can learn the days of the week.

4. Younger kids will learn to count 1,2,3….

5. You can ask them which of the food the Caterpillar eats are healthy.

6. Moral: not to eat junk food coz the Caterpillar gets a stomach ache and becomes fat. Gets lazy and doesn’t do any work.

7. You can teach the metamorphosis from one egg to a beautiful butterfly. 

8. Classify food groups fruits, diary and meat

9. We can dance to the tune of ‘yum yum yum…its a hungry caterpillar song’


Huh! Finally I had to be convinced if my son could actually find so many reasons to read the book imagine how many could a bunch of 10 find. So I agreed and we read Carle’s Caterpillar. 


For those who do not know the story line it’s a simple story of how on one sunday in the moonlight there’s a tiny egg which lays on the leaf and in the warm sun, comes out a caterpillar who is propelled by his hunger to look for food. 

Between Monday and Friday, he eats his way through a great deal of fruits- 1 apple,2 pears,3 plums, 4 strawberries, 5 oranges. But on Saturday, his hunger really gets the better of him, and he eats through a piece of chocolate cake, an ice cream cone, a pickle, a slice of Swiss cheese, some salami, a lollipop, a piece of cherry pie, one sausage, a cupcake, and a slice of watermelon. And what happens once he catches a stomach ache and decides to eat a nice green leaf and rests in the cocoon is the climax. 

We were nearly 16 of us in the chookubooku compartment. We enjoyed reading the book and i was surprised when 2 year old sarayu, vibha, kushi and Siri were able to guess the sunday, monday tuesday … well. The moment I said next day they all went ‘Monday’  ‘Tuesday’.


Avyukt, Aarav, Riddanth and Rishab were giggling away to glory when they were saying “but he was still hungry”. 

The kids were super thrilled to do their own book of very hungry caterpillar and they even danced to the song ”



Hungry Caterpillar