Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"Two brothers create the world; a river wanders over the mountain; the dove sings a lullaby; a wayward sun tries to scorch the earth.
Four delightful tales from Arunachal Pradesh on how the world came to be."
The Hindu
(Young World, February 17, 2006)
The first is a collection of tales of how the earth came to be. Sourced from Arunachal Pradesh, these stories are presented by Mamang Dai with art by Nimret Handa. The planet has its origins in all things natural. The wind, water and the sun have shaped the world, as we know it, with a little help from those living higher up. "Why the dove weeps" is probably the best of the lot.
The art is what constitutes the main appeal. The colours add to the mood and highlight the fine lines of the drawings.
- Paromita Pain
The New Indian Express
(School Magazine, July 26, 2006)

Once Upon a Moontime is a folktale about the formation of the earth, the rivers, the green trees and towering mountains. Nature comes alive through author Mamang Dai's pen, and vivid and colourful illustrations in bold colours, flaming reds, turquoise blues, golden yellows and magentas, from Nimret Handa.

The book consists of four chapters - How the World Was Made, The Story of the River, Why the Dove Weeps and The Sun and the Moon.

The first chapter traces the evolution of the world. Two brothers in the sky, Lopong Rimbuche and Chom Dande, decide to mould and shape water and land, with the aid of the wind to form the earth, as it is today. The second story paints a blue picture of the world, before the earth was formed. Nature collaborated with God Techimdum to carve the way for the rivers and streams to flow winding around the hills and meandering onto the plains to bring nature's bounties to the men and women, animals and birds.

The third story weaves a poignant tale about the dove who, on a morning, while helping Donyi the Sun to carry her baby across the skies, dropped the eppon, which was used to carry the baby across the endless skies, to the earth. In a bid to retrieve it, Dove flew down to earth but, weighed down by the weight of the eppon, she could not fly back to the abode of Donyi. Lamenting being unable to take care of the baby, Dove till today lets out her cry of despair, 'ku.. kuku..ku'.

At the beginning of time, there were two suns. The fourth story tells how the younger sun fell into trouble, when, with his heat, he sent the people of earth into great misery. Finally, he was banished and sent into a pool of mud, and was reduced to a pale state. This semi-reduced state of brightness became the moon.

These sweet tales are easy to read and highly enjoyable for young readers. There are also lessons to learn from the folktales, about how friends get together to make the impossible, possible. The white snowy mountains, the golden sun, the blue waters and nature's bounties conspire together to spin a tale of magic, called Once Upon a Moontime.

- Sujata Chakrabarti
The author
The Illustrator
Publishers: Katha
Language: English
32 pages, size 8.25 x 6
Age Group:
5 - 8 years
ISBN 81-89020-34-X
Price: Rs 80


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