I was surprised to receive an email from the author, Priya Narayanan, asking me to review her book, The Moon Wants to Be Spotless White. When I read the excerpt that Priya had sent, I wanted to lay my hands on the book as soon as I could. I must say it is an initiative from the heart.
The vain Moon is devastated when he finds out about the dirt patch on his otherwise pristine white self. He wants to be scrubbed and cleaned by Dhobi Kaka to regain his spotless beauty. The moon cunningly manipulates Mitu into helping him out in this mission.
But how will mitu get the moon down to be cleaned?
Will kaka be able to restore the moon s spotless beauty?
Will mitu be turned into an owl for not keeping her promise?
Join in the fun-filled adventure of the Moon, Mitu and Dhobi Kaka, as the trio set out on their mission to help the Moon become spotless.
The Characters (as described by the author):
MITU (short for Mitra): She is a simple 10-year-old who hates waking up early every morning and getting ready for school. Instead, she loves drifting into her imaginary world every now and then. Although she loves almost everything around her, she has a special soft spot for the Moon. Despite her own fears, she is ready to help him in his mission to attain spotless, white beauty.
MOON: He is rather vain and has eyes and ears only for himself. He loves to boast. But when he realises that he has a big dirt patch on himself, he is shattered… until a super-duper idea strikes him.
DHOBI KAKA: Over 60 years old, he is more like a Dhobi Dada, but he has been called Kaka since he was young. He is a gentle, fun-loving person who takes great pride in his ability to deliver the brightest whites in town. He is the inspiration for the Moon’s super-duper idea and goes out of his way to help both Mitu and the Moon in their mission.
Watching the Moon for a fortnight, Mitu compares the crescent shape of the Moon to her Amma’s white sewing thread fixed on the sky in the shape of a smile and as the Moon grows, she compared it to the smile growing bigger and bolder and the full moon to the open mouth of a giant rolling with laughter. She finds the moon looking sad. When she comments on the Moon’s sadness, she is surprised to find the Moon talking to her. The Moon tells her that he is sad because the stars had laughed at him saying that he was ugly because he had a big dark spot. Even when Mitu tells him that he is the most handsome in the sky, the Moon does not agree.
The next day, the Moon comes up with a brilliant idea- He asks Mitu to help him and excited that the Moon has chosen her; she promises that she would do it. He wants her to ask Dhobi Kaka to scrub him clean. And Mitu is dragged into the plan. She skips school and co-conspires with Dhobi Kaka who promised to help her because he had been told as a kid that whoever does not keep his promises, turns into an owl and he does not want either Mitu or himself to turn into one.
The book has been well written keeping in mind a child’s capacity to retain characters. It has only five characters, which is very easy for a child of 5-8 years to understand. The story is simple and the language is easily understandable. The scenes have been described very well and can be easily visualized.
Mitu is a typical girl, wants to sleep in late, wants extra five minutes before she gets up (my eight and ten year olds wants two minutes every morning).
There is moral in the story which I feel is very important in the books which have been targeted at children of this impressionable age. The book has been beautifully illustrated by Suhita Mitra, making it all the more interesting. The ‘Meaning of Indian Words’ at the end would help the non-Hindi speaking readers understand the book better.
A happy book with an equally happy ending, this book is a must buy for all children, parents and grandparents. Though the author says, for five to eight year olds, I would say, any age.
Book Source: Author
Publisher: LeadStart Publishing
Genre: Children Section