Title: Amma, Take Me to the Taj Mahal
Author: Bhakti Mathur
Illustrator: Priyankar Gupta
Publisher: Puffin Books (Penguin Random House India)
Age group: 7-12 years
This is an amazing book written by Bhakti Mathur from the “Amma, Tell Me” and “Amma Take Me To” series. I enjoyed reading this book as it has the perfect words to describe every scene and breathtaking illustrations by Priyankar Gupta. The book gives us a thorough history of the Taj Mahal.
In this book, a mother takes her children – Shiv and Veer – to the Taj Mahal to soak in the beauty and grandeur of one of the seven wonders of the world. Shiv and Veer are depicted as loving children who adore stories but have petty quarrels. Shiv is the elder brother and is learning about the Taj Mahal in school. His mother gives him a quiz on the Taj Mahal, to which Shiv answers that the Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan in 1653 to honour his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal and its exquisiteness had no ends.
The mother narrates how the story of the Taj Mahal started 170 years before it was even built! It started in Ferghana, a tiny kingdom in Uzbekistan in the mountains of Central Asia. It was a valley covered in greenery, a kingdom of dreams full of hills and the gentle Syr Darya river, surrounded by looming trees. Umar Sheikh was the ruler of this kingdom. He fell to his death when he was feeding the pigeons in his dovecote as his ancient castle walls crumbled down. This led to Babur, his son, to become the ruler of Ferghana when he was only 12! Imagine one becoming a king at the age of 12!!! The age when we start learning History. Babur won over Delhi and made Agra his capital.
When Babur was emperor, he had planted a beautiful garden on the opposite bank of Yamuna. This was to symbolize his glory. It was called Charbagh and became a tomb garden. Babur was succeeded by Shah Jahan, after a few generations. Babur is the 1st Mughal emperor and is Shah Jahan’s great-great grandfather. When Shah Jahan’s wife – Mumtaz Mahal – died. He was heart-broken and built the Taj Mahal for her on the very grounds where the Charbagh was built. The Taj Mahal was built by 22,000 labourers and 1,000 elephants. It was built with bricks and covered with beautiful white marble. Thus, the Taj Mahal was built. This book explains these series of events in an enjoyable manner, and you will get immersed in these historic events while reading this book. Read the book for an immersive experience!!!
I think this is an impressive story and its words and illustrations transport the reader into an alternate universe. The characters are childlike and relatable. I think this book gives the vast history of the Taj Mahal to children in a story that pulls them into the rich history and heritage of India and gives us a beautiful description of the Taj Mahal and good vocabulary to the readers. It has a large mix of humour, a sprinkle of love, a dash of childishness, a spoonful of brotherhood and a gigantic squirt of the heritage of India. It appeals to all readers and will be adored by history lovers. I’d recommend this book to everyone.
My favourite character in this book is the mother due to her willingness to share her knowledge to her kids in an interesting way. She has the answers to everything. Why was the Taj Mahal built? How did Babur capture Delhi? Why did the Taj Mahal have to be renewed? Who developed the Mughal empire? To learn more about all these questions and to find answers to the questions coming from the curious side of your mind – grab this book, rest yourself on a chair and absorb yourself into – AMMA, TAKE ME TO THE TAJ MAHAL.
[ADDED BY ASHA: Anagha, the reviewer is a 10-year-old author, speaker, storyteller and a ventriloquist. She has written and published a book –‘A Rainbow Through My Lockdown Window’ when she was 8.]CLICK & BUY NOW!
Disclaimer: We received this book as a review copy from the publisher which was organised by team kids book café.