May 222024
Can you Dance like Priya the Jungle Dancer? [Review]
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Book Title : Priya the Jungle Dancer
Author : Sathya Achia
Illustrator : Janan Abir
Publisher : Adidev Press
Type : Paperback
Length : 34 pages
Age Group : 4/5 years+

Kodavas are a small community of people who have their roots based in Coorg or Kodagu, Karnataka. While Coorg is famous for its coffee plantations, it is well known that Coorgi people have a deep connection with our natural world. “Ummathat” is a famous folk dance to which women from Kodagu dance to please Goddess Kaveri (Kaverramma – primary river of Karnataka).

The story begins with Priya on a video call with her grandparents – practicing for an upcoming folk dance performance. Priya lives overseas, while her grandparents – Thatha and Thaye, live across the ocean in Coorg, India. Priya is taking cues from her grandparents, planning her steps for the folk dance performance. Thatha plays the tabla while Thaye and Priya sway to the tabla beats. She feels her grandparents are in sync with their dance steps and expressions, while she is not! Priya shares her fear of missing steps on stage. Her Thatha then reminds her that she is inherently a jungle dancer – fierce, grounded and determined. He urges Priya to believe in herself and keep on practicing.

Motivated, they begin their dance practice again and suddenly the laptop goes blank. Priya presses several buttons but nothing works – she is unable to speak to her grandparents. What would Priya do now? How would she practice her steps? Will she be able to perform without their help? Will she be able to look deep inside and find her inner jungle dancer?

The story is touching – focusing on culture, family bonds and DANCE. It’s heartwarming to see the beautiful bond between Priya and her grandparents. Ananya remembers her grandparents every time she picks up this book. Growing up with grandparents, this was a very nostalgic read for me. I would say the book achieved what it was supposed to – make the reader remember a bit about themselves, their childhood, their family bonds!

Illustrations are just WOW – they touch your soul. The personalized photos sneaking in between pages – reflecting the author and her family pictures was pure bliss. Ananya kept looking at Priya’s costume, her saree, bangles, bindis – she was inspired to wear traditional and wore it with excitement while at home. It was lovely to see Thaye wearing the traditional Coorgi saree – I have promised Ananya to take her to Coorg soon so that she can experience this culture more closely.

Happy Reading, while dancing of course!

If you would like to introduce your kiddos to this lovely girl Priya and her grandparents, then I would strongly encourage you to get your own copy from Amazon (kbc affiliate link),


Disclaimer: Pooja and Ananya are a part of the #kbcReviewerSquad and received these books as review copies from the publisher via kbc.

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