Bookasura: Bala and the Book-Eating Monster… review by Yokibu Editorial
Posted on: September 14, 2018.

The story of Bhima defeating Bakasura would, not-so-surprisingly, rate among the most retold mythological tales in Indian households… Bookasura is a tale with a fresh and funny take on the beloved mythology of Bakasura, which is sure to be adored by child readers—a young boy perturbed by a hungry oaf, the titular character of the book, with a weird form of appetite. “Delicious” food is plentiful here, and finds its place in the narration, spiced up by some “pretty interesting” stuff.

“Bookasura”, a book-eating monster, devours the protagonist’s books, and Bala, the protagonist, seeks the help of Chota Bheem to defeat Bookasura, just as Bhima defeated Bakasura. Bala used uses TV as an equalizer to subdue Bookasura, as his mother keeps telling him how he is being destroyed by TV! It is concept of books kindling children’s imagination that wins this book the adulation of parents. It takes them down memory lane, evokes in them a sense of nostalgia, and make them want their children to experience it also. It is essential to make children realize, without us preaching too much, the significance of reading books, and this book is a fun way to do just that…

The Story…
Bala is a little boy who loves books. So much so, that he rapidly progresses from thumbing through picture books to bringing his very first chapter book to the finish. But his critical achievement is sadly ignored as all his parents’ attention gets diverted to his baby sister Meera. To makes matter worse for Bala, one of his favourite books get chewed by Baby Meera!

One day, Bala is sent away to his grandparents’ house in Melagam, a quiet place, which makes him quite happy. Not only can he read his books peacefully now, but he also gets to listen to Thaatha’s stories, relish Paati’s delicious cooking and explore his uncle Navneet’s garden. However, he hasn’t seen the last of monsters…

The iconic, terrible, hydra-headed rakshasa with an insatiable appetite—for books, yes!— “Bookasura”, enters. With all of Bala’s books for the summer offered to the monster—lest he gobble up Bala himself—his bag is almost empty with only three books left.

What is Bala going to do?

Can he end his troubles without ending up getting eaten?

Will he get help from the books he loves so much?

Or would some very surprising sources eventually help him?

Young readers would giggle all their way through Bookasura, a fun adventure that celebrates the aesthetic and moral influences of good stories. Contemporary entertainment is typically serious, but here, the author treats it cheerfully, pitching customs followed in typical South Indian households in the lighter vein.

About the Author…
Arundhati held a career in the IT Industry, spanning many years, before she got into writing. Reflecting on her journey as a successful writer of children’s books, she revealed that after completing her engineering degree in Electronics and Communications, she went to London in 2006 to work on an integration solution for British Petroleum, where she had stumbled upon the magical world of picture books in one of London’s public libraries. Arundhati’s intention and interest to begin writing developed when she returned to India, and she chose to author children’s stories plotting their themes in the Indian context.

About the illustrator…
The book treats children with some really creative and attractive illustrations by Priya Kurian. The illustrator’s pencil makes only plain yet deft strokes, animating the characters in the book, almost bringing them alive. Undoubtedly the outstanding illustration of the book, is Bookasura, with his characteristic potbelly, little drawstring pyjamas, and distinct scowls and mohawks on each of his many hydra-heads.

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