Book Title: Heroes the Colour of Dust
Author: Amit Majmudar
Illustrations by: Aradhana Rawat
Publisher: Puffin (Penguin Random House India)
Pages: 136 pages
Recommended Age: 10 years and above
Amit Majmudar has penned an epic bird’s-eye view of Mahatma Gandhi’s famous Dandi March in 1930.
Heroes The Colour of Dust is tale of six sparrows, of fearless self sacrifice and derring-do. As the introduction says, the struggle for independence involved not just brown people, but brown birds as well.
This story is narrated by the very eloquent Blatherquill, recounting his sparrow squadron’s daring escapes from cats and dogs, sneaky sahibs and stalwart Indians!
Meet the star angel guardians in the sky (sparrows) who guard Gandhiji every step of the way – Muttsbane, Amli, Lychee, Thunderfluff, Red Millet, and of course the gifted Blatherquill. No prizes for guessing the sweet fruit names of Amli and Lychee are the two cute girl sparrows.
It is left to Red Millet to announce the first regiment of its kind, the Mahatma’s Guards.
Don’t be too surprised to discover high caste creep into this story, with a high altitude, Brahminy Kite, who speaks sparrowese, and who goes by the grand name of Pandit Shiva. But the twist here is that Pandit Shiva is an ardent disciple of Gandhiji and being stronger, he offers to be the watchguard for our sparrow friends.
Blatherquill keeps his team (and the readers) entertained by introducing us to the Nibble Prize. Yes, you read right. The Nibble Prize – given in five categories, Literature, Peace, Feather Fluffing, Aerial Tricks, and Biology.
The list of sacrifices is endless. Our sparrow guards sleep on a high telephone line, while Muttsbane meanders to a private peepul tree where he gets two romantic proposals from the two sisters – Lychee and Amli. Love stories in moonlight nights, while our valiant sparrow warriors grapple with military history and strategic bird formations.
There are too many gems to share from this beautiful book. Savour this: music feels as necessary to sparrows as brushing teeth does to human beings.
But back to ground reality. As Mahatma Gandhi begins his march, our six brave winged guards split into two squadrons, one over head, on the road, and the other, scanning the fields, where they discover something very suspicious: an Englishman with a rifle.
It’s left to Blatherquill to eavesdrop on the conversation in the field below, because while our gifted friend couldn’t speak English, he could understand it very well. And what he hears scares him, as there is a man with a gun, threatening to outwit the Mahatma. Or as the villain says…
Make trouble for Mr Ghandi.
Not to forget the army of alley cats and cut throat mutts that threaten our brave sparrows, stretching them to their limits. But luckily for all us engrossed readers, help is on hand, from believe it or not, the blackest of birds, the crows. The chief crow, Kala Nazar, assures our sparrows, that he and his fellow crows, will guard the Mahatma, while our tired warriors take rest.
But wait. What’s that? Pandit Shiva taking the two love birds, Muttsbane and Amli, over the Dandi, from where they bid a reassuring farewell to the Mahatma.
As predicted, everything goes as per plan, however the only regret we share with the eloquent Blatherquill, is the peacock ends up becoming the national bird of India, and not our friendly sparrow. Sorry, Blatherquill.
The book is a collector’s item for its beautiful storyline, original and imaginative writing style, sense of humour and the endearing style of illustrations – right through, page to page.
If you enjoy historical fiction and are a bird lover, you might want to buy this book from Amazon (kbc affiliate link),CLICK & BUY NOW!
Disclaimer: We are proud to be part of the #kbcReviewerSquad and received this review copy from the publisher.