Book Title: Grandfather’s Tiger Tales
Author: Anjana Basu
Illustrated by: Aaryama Somayaji
Publisher: Talking Cub – An imprint of Speaking Tiger Books
Recommended Age: 7-9 years
I was intrigued by the title of the book because this reminded me of my grandfather, my Buro Shona, who used to tell us many stories when we visited Kolkata during our summer vacations or when he visited us. I always looked forward to spending my afternoons with him because he was just a great storyteller and always told stories which were more like real life experiences. He used to take me and my brother around Kolkata in a tram, double-decker bus and metro and tell us stories from his youth about what he did with Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, how he played badminton with the “angrez” and how he worked with Mother Teresa to save the people living on the streets of Kolkata.
The book made me extremely nostalgic because it is set in West Bengal and has many references to places where I have grown up. When I gave this book to Divit, my 9 year old, he was excited to learn about Sundarbans and read the tiger tales. Below is the review from Divit.
The book is a collection of 3 short stories that revolve around tigers. I didn’t know about Sundarbans at all till I read this book but now I really want to visit the forest on one of my trips there.
The first one is about how a tiger reached a cricket match scaring the sahibs and their begums being totally oblivious to the panic he had created around. The people were all scared but the tiger didn’t harm anyone and simply walked out. Tigers attack mostly out of fear and to save their life. And in this case, he didn’t feel scared to harm others. This is a real story and is recorded in the archives of Calcutta Cricket and Football Club.
The second story is my favorite which is about the Tiger God – Dakshin Ray who was immensely feared by all the villagers of Sundarbans. As per the old folklore, people of Sundarbans worshiped Bon Bibi – a Muslim deity who is actually an incarnation of goddess Durga. She and her twin brother Shah Jongoli were always there to protect the people from Dakshin Ray and they saved this little boy Dukhi from him in this story. After an immense fight, Bon Bibi saved Dukhi and divided the jungle into two parts – one for tigers and one for humans warning them to never intrude into each other’s territory. I loved the way the story explained about living in harmony.
The third story is about a tiger and a ghost together in a hut! It is quite interesting and funny but you must read it to find out more.
The stories are written in very simple language and indeed take you to Sundarbans – the tiger land.
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