SHORT, crisp, innocent and entertaining – something that would really excite young minds.
Running somewhat on the lines of Enid Blyton’s mystery-cum-adventure books that we have grown up reading, the book reads like the five-findouters. A bright group of friends walking into a mystery, getting caught by the goons, finally exposing them, and handing them over to the law – that’s it!
Only the setting is India and so are the characters Indians. And, to add a bit of realism, historical characters like Emperor Akbar and his courtier Birbal being thrown in. The intrigue in Akbar’s court is well brought out. In the court is a bad character – Magesh – who has set his eyes on the charmed emerald-studded dagger of the emperor. He steals it. But there is a hitch. Ash comes to know of Magesh’s evil intentions, and is determined to restore the jewelled dagger to its rightful owner.
Like all well-written children’s books, the language is simple, with short clear sentences, and child-like expressions. Even Emperor Akbar is shown to behave like a young boy. When the children see their ball, which they thought had gone into the river, the last paragraph of the book reads – “What are we waiting for?”exclaims Akbar. “Lets get it back!” And he, Ash, Tara Kirit and Bansi all racd off, roaring with laughter as they ran around trees, leapt over bushes, down the country paths, over fields, bushes, chasing the monkey (who is holding the ball).
(Penguin Books Pvt. Ltd, 11, Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi-110 017; www.penguinbooksindia.com)