Apr 122022
Review: Tales from Around the World
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Title: Tales from around the world

Author: Geeta Ramanujam

Illustrator: Arkapriya Koley

Book design & layout: Canato Jimo

Publisher: Puffin Books (An imprint of Penguin Random House)

Type: Paperback 

Pages: 208

Age group: 8 – 11 years

Have you ever wondered what makes a story a tale? A tale is a short story of some strange event that has been given life by lots of creative and imaginative elements. This book, as the name suggests, is a collection of many twenty two tales from various parts of the world. 

As I read this book along with my 8 year old, we had a good chuckle over some funny stories, marvelled at the wit of some characters, admired the courage of others, and even discussed how some traditions and customs must have come into being.

As opposed to a book of folktales from a particular region, Geeta Ramanujam has shared a plethora of experiences from a wide array of cultures in one book.  Her small introduction to each story helps to give a perspective to the reader, and the trivia box at the end sheds further light on the topic.

Some of the stories my 8 year old enjoyed most were of the wise (or rather witty) merchant- Manuel, the golden cranes, and the clever Raven. The tale of the lonely elephant and how he finally finds some friends, the making of the stone soup and the dragons who brought rivers to China were also much enjoyed. A few of the tales also talk about how stories came into being- A storyteller bird from India, The storytelling shell from Zulu, and Anansi’s quest to bring stories to the Earth from Ghana, all stressing on how folklore and storytelling is a major pillar of every culture. 

The illustrations and layout of the book are well planned, with colourful glossy pages to make the reading experience pleasurable.

But what I noticed was that despite being an avid reader, my son enjoyed listening to these stories far better than reading them himself. And as we navigated through the book, I could feel my inner story-teller enjoying the experience of narrating these tales. So I would suggest this book to all story-tellers for some fresh tales to tell as they incorporate the features of an enthralling verbal narrative – from magical characters and mysteries, to adventures and tender moments, even songs. It would be an interesting pick for parents of kids 5 years and older too, if your child (and you) enjoy read-alouds. Older independent readers with interest in fantasy, magic and folktales might enjoy reading it as well.

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