Arundhati Venkatesh’s latest offering “Bookasura: The Adventures of Bala and the Book-eating Monster” has a catchy title that makes one want to try it and that is what I did.
Bala, the bibliophile, is sent to his grandparents’ place in Melagam so that his parents can attend to his infant sister and he can enjoy his summer holidays without any worries of her eating his books.
Bala goes to Melagam along with Navneeth uncle and his wife Kala Aunty, friends and residents of Melagam. On arriving at his grandparents’ place, Bala is treated to a variety of sumptuous dishes by Paati and delicious stories by Thaatha. One such story is that of Bakasura, the mythological monster whose appetite could not be satisfied and whom Bheem had to counter and kill.
That afternoon, when Bala goes to Navneeth uncle’s house and then near the forbidden well in the garden, lo and behold, there is a monster awaiting him. This time it a demon with a ‘D’ifference because he devours books in place of food.
Bala is forced to part with a few of the carefully chosen 10 books that he had carried with him from home. He also promises to give a regular supply of three books each day to the demon to save his own life.
Is Bookasura real? How does Bala manage to meet the demands of Bookasura? What does he do when his 10 books are devoured? Does he manage to outwit the demon? Read the story to find out.
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- An attractive title that draws people, particularly bibliophiles, to the book. This attraction is justified as the parallel between Bakasura and Bookasura is delightful.
- The encounter between Bala and Bookasura wherein Bala answers all the demon’s questions with a book title. Very innovative and creative indeed!
- A notable feature about Arundhati’s writing is her description of food that kindles one’s appetite and makes one drool. This book is no exception with Paati vowing to fatten Bala during the vacation and offering delicacies that made me nostalgic.
- I particularly liked the way the author has shown the presence of a baby in the family and how the dynamics of the family members change in the context. Though it is short, it is genuine.
- Awesome illustrations by Priya Kuriyan, very instrumental in kindling my childhood memories.
- I love the title written on the cover with two horns each on the ‘B’ and ‘S’ of Bookasura. Whom does the credit go to for the idea?
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- Though I found the solution to the problem of Bookasura ingenious, there is a lingering feeling that it could have been refined further. The thrill of the solution was missing.
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- ComicCon India has nominated Bookasura for Best Cover and Best Publication for Children, and Arundhati for Best Children’s Writer award for 2014.
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- The list of books that Bookasura devoured are ones that I have devoured as well. Does that make me a monster?
- Is Melagam real? I could not find it in Google Maps. The name is very appealing.
Devour the Demon that devours!