Posted in Kid lit book reviews

The Manic Panic #KidLitbookreview 14

It is a normal sort of a day in your house until…
“What’s wrong with the Wi-Fi?” Mommy howls.
“It’s DOWN!” Daddy hollers.
“Good riddance!” Nannu smiles.

Story –

The Manic Panic is a story of a day in the life of a normal family. Everything was going on as usual with the father cooking a meal with a phone held in one hand, the mother sitting on the couch with a bowl of something to eat in the hand and a laptop on the lap, the daughter hanging upside down from the couch reading a book and a grandma, Nannu, doing a headstand. Very normal, you may say. And, then a dreadful thing happens. The wi-fi stops working and all hell breaks loose for the parents. They get cranky and fidgety while the daughter makes all kinds of plans to spend the day outside the home in the park or cycling or having a picnic.

After a lot of whining, the parents actually start having fun. The twist arises when the same daughter, who dragged her parents out to discover plenty of possibilities, goes back to her room at the end of the day and finds the wi-fi is still not working. Now, it is her turn to become fidgety because she has a book report to finish and she cannot.

There is someone who knows the secret why the wi-fi connection got cut. However, who is that someone is not the question.

My Review –

What worked for me –

  • The cover page design – One cannot help but notice the wi-fi sign replacing the dot over the letter ‘i’ in the words Manic Panic. This was highly creative. The image of a small girl pulling and dragging two grownups is intriguing and compelling enough to open the book and read the story.

 

  • The illustrations by Mithila Ananth are simple and the colors are soothing for the eyes. The illustrations play an important role here in this story. They are not limited to the text but take the narrative forward and are also capable of telling the story independently.  This is one of those books where the illustrations are not there because the book is meant for kids but because the storytelling needs them.

 

  • The story by Richa Jha is unique. You may have noticed the characters playing the not-so-stereotypical roles in the family. Wherever the father figure is shown cooking or taking care of children independently, with or without the mother present in the same frame, it gets a notch higher for me. The grandma, Nannu, is also not the usual old lady holding and moving around with prayer beads in her hands but instead, she is shown doing a headstand and riding a motorbike. Now, how more unique and interesting can it get. This story also questions a big stereotype where it talks not about screen addiction in children but in grownups. All of us, as grownups and as parents, are used to blame the children for their addiction to screen. We often talk about how difficult it is to push the children out of the house to indulge in physical play and flex those muscles. In this way, what we forget is we are equally at folly with our screen addiction and which can bother our children too.

What did not work for me –

The ending left me confused to some extent since why will a small girl need a computer (and thus a wi-fi) to finish her book report. Or was it symbolically used to establish internet is not all that bad but is also useful in many ways, sometimes making us completely dependent on it? Being a blogger, I am dependent on the internet. Hence, I would like to believe the ending is subject to interpretation.

My verdict –

If you are the one who, like me –

Tries hard to keep the smartphones and iPads away?

Struggles to keep screen addiction at bay?

Likes to question stereotypes?

Likes to read and watch stories that break stereotypes and want to give your child a slice of such stories?

Then this book by Richa Jha and Mithila Ananth is just right for you and your child to read together.

Author – Richa Jha

Illustrator – Mithila Ananth

Release Year – First published in May 2018

Publisher – Creston Books (USA), Pickle Yolk Books (India)

Age group – 5 – 9 years

Available on – Amazon India

Note: This post contains affiliate links to Amazon India. This means: if you buy this book by clicking on the links given above, I will earn a small reference money at no additional cost to you which will go in maintaining this site. Thank you.


I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Picture Book Reviews

Don’t ever look behind door 32 #PictureBookReview 13

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The magical Hotel of Hoo is a mysterious place with some very unusual occupants. As our guests explore the strange hotel, they are invited to experience everything it has to offer with just one warning… don’t ever look behind door 32.

Don’t ever look behind door 32 is a picture book about a hotel Hoo, its host Mr. Nicholas Noo and 2 small kids, a boy, and a girl. The kids are the first guests in the hotel. Mr. Nicholas Noo takes them around to explore the place right from door 1 to door 31 but with a special warning, repeated every single time, not to look behind door 32.

On the tour, the kids discover unusual, spooky but useful occupants in almost each of the rooms. For instance, the itchy knights who fix the lights, the dancing zombies who mend shirts and pants, the elves who assist in the library, the purple goblins who are vets, the ghosts who are chefs and many more. Some are scary while some other are not.

At last, when they reach door 32, in spite of his warnings, Mr. Noo lets them know and have a peek behind door 32. What did the kids find?

My review –

This is an adorable book with colorful & quirky full-page illustrations and lots of intelligent rhyming going with the number 32. The suspense as to what is behind the next door keeps the little readers excited and guessing.  It is amusing, entertaining and educational at the same time.

For the young readers, it talks about cardinal numbers beyond the usual number 10 in a fun and accessible way. There are references to various monsters, beasts, and their professions. Monsters, though, are supposed to be scary always make for endearing characters in children’s books.

The ending is an unexpected surprise and a good one.

My Verdict –

Don’t ever look behind door 32 is the most favorite read at this point in time in my home. My 7-year-old son, D, liked it immensely. He voluntarily stood up in the class to talk about this book when the school opened this week after the half-term break. This is the impact of this book on children. It would not be an exaggeration to say this book has all the necessary ingredients to become a classic. I would definitely recommend it.

Author – B.C.R. Fegan

Illustrator – Lenny Wen

Release Year – First published in 2017

Publisher – TaleBlade Press

Age group – 3 – 8 years

Available on – Amazon India

Note: This post contains affiliate links to Amazon India. This means: if you buy this book by clicking on the links given above, I will earn a small reference money at no additional cost to you which will go in maintaining this site. Thank you.


I received a free copy of this book from the book publicist in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Picture Book Reviews

Book Review #10 : Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar

Author & Illustrator – Emily Mackenzie

Release Year – First published in 2015

Publisher – Bloomsbury (UK)

Age group – 3-6 years

Available on – Amazon India

Some rabbits dreamed

 of lettuces and carrots.

Others dreamed of flowering

meadows and juicy dandelions.

But Ralfy was a little bit different…

Ralfy dreamed about books.

Continue reading “Book Review #10 : Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar”