Samit Basu’s The Adventures of Stoob has been on my to-do list ever since it was nominated for the Crossword book award and finally I picked the first one in the series – Testing Times.
Subroto Bandhopadhyay, named so by his grandfather, is better known to his friends as Stoob.
Stoob, is a class 5 student who is average in studies. Ishani, his classmate and near-best friend, is the one who named him Stoob. Rehan, son of college professors, is the brilliant guy in class who knows much more about anything in the universe, than all of them put together. Prithvi, is the rich kid with a big bro Aditya in class eleven, who is known for his coolness quotient.
The foursome have to brave through a final exam of class 5, which is a month away. Each child chooses his/her path to face the ordeal. While Rehan and Ishani slog it out, Prithvi decides to take some lessons on cheating from Aditya. Prithvi invites Stoob to join him. Stoob is tempted to join and even attends the first session by Aditya at their basement, when better sense prevails and he backs out.
When Ishani and Rehan get to know of Prithvi’s path, Ishani decides that the three of them will not allow Prithvi to cheat in the exams. How do they manage it?
Read this simple book to find out.
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- The trend today is to write stories for children without morals and advice. Though this book is not a blatant piece of advice, there is a hidden sermon in the story delivered through the bossy character of Ishani. And probably because I am a middle-aged parent, brought up with lots of sermons, it appeals to me.
- The anxiety, strategizing, planning and replanning that a child does to prepare for an exam are captured brilliantly by Basu.
- Sunaina Coelho’s pen does not barely capture the details in the story, but spins out sketches from within its own imagination. For instance, the one showing exams in prehistoric (Dad) times where a boy wearing a robe asks for an extra stone block, or the one showing the distraction squad of gadgets. Brilliant!
- The font used in the print version of the book is very appealing. It suits this story, written in the first person narrative, from a child’s point of view.
- In spite of its timelessness, the most interesting quote of the season award goes to
It’s amazing how interesting the whole world becomes before an exam. I want to reread every book in the house. I want to play with the dog. I want to spend time listening to wonderful stories about Dad and Mom. I want to hear Bimala Didi complaining about her various illnesses…Seriously. everything is so amazing, except the one thing I’m supposed to be doing: studying.
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- I wonder if a child in class 5 can understand enough about exams to cause anxiety. Neither did I have such anxieties then, nor did my 11-year old have in the recent past.
Passed the test!