THE POLKA DOT UMBRELLA & OTHERS: A COLLECTION OF 12 SHORT STORIES
Children’s Book Trust, 2019, pp. 20, R105.00
The Polka Dot Umbrella & Others is a collection of 12 short stories, each dealing with aspects of life. The stories touch upon various challenges life throws at us and how to overcome them as in , ‘Dance of Victory’, ‘A Mentor Called Dadu ‘ and ‘Singular Problem’.
These stories tell the children how to change your shortcomings to your advantage without sermonizing —be it limping, being very short or having hearing impairment.
You never know how lucky you are unless you step into another person’s shoes, Anamika finds out. The habit of writing a diary helps Tara to introspect and find a true friend is Sushmita.
Not listening to your parents can land you in serious trouble, Chamlu and Chibu find out in ‘The Circus’. In ‘Polka Dot Umbrella’, Nirmala, a poor girl, with great difficulty manages to buy the umbrella she had been longing for—a prized possession, but she sacrifices it to save a puppy from drowning in the floods— which shows her compassion towards animals.
Had I been in Renuka’s place I wouldn’t have rewarded Jay for his misbehaviour, in ‘The Final Goal’.
Courage, presence of mind have been aptly depicted in ‘The Girl With a Curly Hair’ and ‘Kesar Devi’.
Parents’ support, guidance and encouragement go a long way in inculcating a positive attitude and perseverance in children. Each story is narrated in a simple and interesting manner. The book is ideal for children in their formative years (9-12 ) in building character, confidence, compassion and values.
Rama Raj is a freelance critic.