Taranauts: The Quest for the Shyn Emeralds, Roopa Pai, Hachette, Pp 120, Rs 145.00
WINNER of the Children’s Book Trust’s award for science writing, Roopa Pai has written this book for eight-to ten-year olds to share her passion for adventure.
The story begins with eight-year old Zvala and her Maa getting ready to go out. Maa tells her daughter to hurry up and within no time the aquauto arrives to take them to the Port of Shyn. Aquauto is their auto which moves on magnetic tracks by pulling in its wheels, hovering uncertainly for a dingling before zooming away towards the port at a terrific speed. Zvala lives in a wholly different universe called Mithya which is exactly where the earth meets the sky. Mithya has a vast ocean called Dariya and from it rises Kay Laas, the mighty but moody volcano. At its top lives the ruler of Mithya, the brave and kind Shoon Ya. He rules over eight worlds comprising Shyn, Dazl, Lustr, Colo, Syntilla, Shimr, Sparkl and Glytr – the worlds that are sustained by the cool rainbow-coloured light emitted by the 32 stars that make up Tara, the super sun of Mithya. All the eight worlds move around in the endless ocean of Dariya and around the bad-tempered volcano, Kay Laas.
The eight worlds bob peacefully in Dariya which is lit by the Tarasun and its 32 stars that light each world in different colours – emerald green, amethyst purple, ruby red and so on. But danger lurks beneath the surface. Mithya is caught in the grip of a great crisis. The evil Shaap Azur is just as powerful but all bad despite being the brother of the brave and wise ruler, Shoon Ya of Mithya. Now for how long can Shoon Ya keep him under control?
Combining their wit and special powers, the three Taranauts constitute a formidable team. The ruler, Shoon Ya chooses them to rescue Mithya from the great crisis. The Taranauts have the courage to take up the challenge to solve the 32 riddles. To find out if they can bring back the stars, the book will have to be read by children.
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