Sunday, March 25, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Title : Oh Say Can You Say Di-no-saur?
(The Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)
Publisher : Oceanhouse Media
Available on : Apple Store
The Cat in the Hat's learning library aims at introducing the interesting natural concepts of world around us to the young readers by making education entertaining. In line with this objective, this is another offering in digital format by Oceanhouse Media with two options - Read to Me and Read Aloud.
The book has Sally and Dick, hidden messages held by Thing One and Thing Two, and the favourite Cat in the Hat as the tour guide who likes to call himself - Cat-in-the-hat-saurus. The Cat in the Hat takes Dick and Sally to a trip millions of years back in time when enormous lizards ruled over earth and the fossils of these fascinating creatures form an interesting research topic. They then go to the Super Dino Museum to learn more about various Dinosaurs who roamed on the face of Earth during prehistoric period.
It begins with a brief introduction about the Dinosaurs followed by going into specifics of some dinosaurs. The readers are helped along in correctly pronouncing the names of these dinosaurs by breaking the words into smaller fragments. This is not all, a small lesson is taught on paleontology too - what are fossils, where are these fossils found, how are they then put together like puzzle pieces to create the whole structures. These skeletons are now displayed in the museums for all to see and learn how these enormous creatures looked like.
Application features like - more information popping up on tapping Dino names, words getting highlighted as they are spoken out, tap on the images leading to naming words, touch-to-hear text and bold words leading to a little more detail, along with beautiful background score and sound effects, make it a great reading and interactive experience.
Children will enjoy the well acquainted characters and style of Dr. Seuss in new avatar. A great way to introduce the fascinating dinosaur world to young children. The zany illustrations and rhyming text are totally signature style of Dr. Seuss and are retained in exact same form.
This application has a slight variation in navigating from one page to another. Unlike the previous one, this has an arrow in the bottom right corner instead of swiping option. The Cat in the Hat's Learning Library is surely doing a great service by making these informative books available on the hand held devices too.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Title : The Glass Tree
Author : M Mukundan
Illustrator : Poonam Athalye
Publisher : Katha
ISBN : 978-81-89934-79-8
'The Glass Tree' is one of the most endearing tales that I have ever read which begins with a role reversal of sorts. Grandma Mutthashi is pestering his grandson Unni, for a story before going to bed. This is because Unni's stories can put Mutthashi to sleep.
It does not take much time for 2-year Unni to relent to the pleadings of his Mutthashi. On this particular night Unni has a special story for his grandma- the story of a glass tree. He begins narrating the story as he imagines some pictures appearing on a bare wall in front of him. It is about a village chief - Kuruman. He is offering his prayers to the stone idol under the huge Champaka tree when a stranger, Melkorran addresses him and makes him believe that the old Champaka tree is about to die soon. Melkorran offers his services to Kuruman as he is adept in the art of making trees that don't grow old nor even shed a single leaf. Kuruman is completely bewitched by the idea of such a fascinating tree. Soon enough Melkorran sets to work, the old Champaka tree comes crashing down and the chirping inhabitants of the tree run helter-skelter trying to save their babies in the nests.
Melkorran shapes each and every part of the tree with utmost care and love. He builds the most beautiful glass tree which glistens with the sun rays but in spite of its magnificence there is something that the glass tree lacks.
Soon the images start to fade away from the wall in front of Unni and his story comes to an end.
This is actually retelling of a prize-winning original story. Fascinating art work by Poonam Athalye is a treat for the eyes.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Title : Trade Winds To Meluhha
Author : Vasant Dave
Publisher : Vasantrai P. Dave
E-format ISBN : 978-81-922506-0-1
In 'Trade Winds to Meluhha', the author Vasant Dave recreates the scene of Bronze Age in Mesopotamia and Indus Valley Civilization. As the title of the book suggests, the story revolves around the trade between the two ancient civilizations.
Samasin, the stable boy of a Babylonian - Nergal, gets accused falsely in a murder case of a visitor who happens to be a businessman from Meluhha. He absconds from that place in search of Siwa Saqra, the person whose name the dying man uttered. As the destiny would have it, he meets beautiful lass Velli and falls in love with her but she does not reciprocate his feelings because of her own reasons. There is another character Anu who is in search of certain men for revenge. Samasin with the assistance of Anu gets to decipher a Dholavira glyph which leads them to another adventure in the ravines of Saraswati. He does succeed in finding Siwa Saqra in Mohenjodaro but is there something more to the murder in Babylon than he knew already?
Gradually the mystery gets revealed behind the trade between Meluhha and Mesopotamia and the master mind responsible for the execution of wicked schemes is unmasked.
A very well thought out plot and is executed cleverly. While reading the book, the readers would surely get the feeling of travelling back in time and I must compliment the author in providing the perfect balance of authenticity and imagination in the narration. The way each character is etched, the names given to them, certain phrases of bygone era and the sensibilities of that society - make for an interesting read. It is evident that author has done a lot of research on that period of time, the people who lived then and their lifestyles and he has succeeded in creating the rustic feel to the story which is absolutely required for a historical novel.
But how much ever I try, I cannot avoid mentioning that the story is not free of typos, a couple of more editing iterations should have been done before releasing the final version. As I began reading the book, for initial 25-30 pages, I found it a cumbersome read because of introduction of too many characters too soon and completely unfamiliar kind of setting but slowly the saga pulled me in and then I realized that perhaps that kind of introduction is absolutely necessary for setting the stage.
This book claims to be the first professionally researched novel on Harappan Civilization. It is available as eBook on Amazon.