Lucky Girl written by Shabnam Minwalla is a cute read for 4 to 8 year old kids. It has a light hearted, funny tone.
Sumi, to all appearances, has the ideal life. Her room would be any little girl’s dream come true – with quaint furnishings, lots of books and art supplies, and a gorgeous view of the sea. Then what could possibly make Sumi so sad?
Sumi likes to eat, but is always hungry. How is that possible? Her mother, Pammi, is a world renowned writer of cook books. She loves to cook. In fact she cooks all the time. So, how could Sumi be deprived of tasty food?
Ah, but Pammi takes her job very seriously, and her cook books are theme based. So it is a whole year of Chinese food with strange ingredients like pig’s feet or chicken’s beak. With Pammi’s zest and perseverance, it doesn’t take long for the family to get fed up with a particular cuisine.
All this wasn’t so bad, until Pammi started a new cook book called, The Challenge, where she uses the most disgusting ingredients, like peels and furry leaves, to develop recipes from waste.
Unlike her father and grandparents, however, Sumi can’t avoid meals at home. So she is stuck with pumpkin peel muffins and furry leaf parathas in her snack box and equally awful lunches and dinner. Not only is Sumi starving, but her social life suffers too.
Sumi can’t find the courage to confront her mother, but she must do something. She really needs to eat, or she will wither away. That’s when she sees an advertisement for Fab Foods, that comes to her rescue. All she has to do is win a contest, and she will get a trolley full of goodies. But how is a normal little girl supposed to win a contest, in which almost the entire city is participating?
Ah, you’ll have to read the book to find that out, won’t you?
Of course, no story about a well meaning, distressed, little girl is complete without a know-it-all best friend and a villainous class bully. As if Sumi did not have enough problems!
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- The story encourages kids to try new things. Just because you have never done something before, does not automatically mean you won’t be good at it. In fact you’ll never know if you are good, unless you try. It also shows that there is more than one way to be good at something. So instead of emulating winners and deferring to authority, you need to give your own ideas and instincts a chance to develop.
- The story reminds us that we may be very different from our best friend in so many ways, that many people might wonder why we are friends at all. But friendship is not about being the same type of person, but about having each others backs, and helping each other out when it really matters.
- The book can help kids realize that parents really do care, even when they seem stern and scary; and that it is usually a good idea to honestly tell parents, when something is bothering you. It also shows kids, that parents can be wrong and not even realize it, but they will try to correct themselves if their kids open up to them.
- The book has some very cute limericks in it. Here is one:
There once was a boy from Khar
Who wanted a granola bar
In the middle of school,
But that was cool
For Fab Foods is never too far
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- There are some minor inconsistencies in the story. Why are Pammi’s cook books so famous if her cooking is so awful? True, some of her experiments may go wrong, but most of her food must be tasty, even if a little monotonous.
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- This is a short, entertaining, 30 to 45 minute read, particularly suitable for 6 to 10 year old kids. It can be read to younger kids, who may have a hard time reading it on their own. I read it to my 4 year old, and she enjoyed it.
Food For Thought!
A copy of this book was given me by the publishers, Duckbill in return for an honest review. Thanks Duckbill.