Feb 242023
Taniya – A Translated Book That Follows the Adventures of a Bhutanese Cocker Spaniel [Review]
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Book Title: Taniya
Author (Assamese): Arupa Patangia Kalita
Translator: Meenaxi Barkotoki
Cover Illustration: Attrayee Gogoi
Cover Design: Isha Nagar
Publisher: Puffin
Type: Paperback
Pages: 160
Age Group: 8 -12 years

Taniya, a heartwarming book that follows the adventures of a Bhutanese Cocker Spaniel, is sure to capture the hearts of readers with her lovable personality.

Written by the award-winning author, Arupa Patangia Kalita, Taniya also provides a glimpse into the lush landscape and the stunning beauty of Northeast India.

My 10-year-old daughter, Miss. M, recently picked up Taniya, her first translated book. The adorable cover featuring a dog with a lovey-dovey expression caught her attention and she was eager to start reading. However, she encountered a hurdle on the very first page. Being unfamiliar with the language and culture of the book, she found it challenging to understand regional words like Bordeuta, Khura, and Bormaa. This made her hesitant to continue reading. As a parent, I wanted to support her in overcoming this obstacle and developing her interest in translated literature.

I quickly skimmed through the pages, grasped the story’s essence, and shared it with M. I explained how various regions have unique languages and cultures. For example, in Assamese, “khura” is the equivalent of “chittappa” in Tamil, “khuri” is for “chitti,” and “bordeuta” is for “peripa.”  Also, as I recounted Taniya’s amusing behaviours, such as her fondness for bathing with her front paws on the rim of the tub or sunbathing on her back to warm her tummy or even doing her business in the garden’s corner, M became captivated and eagerly delved into the book with newfound enthusiasm.

By connecting the context and relatable anecdotes with our beloved Mikey, a Great Dane who lives only in our memories now, M was able to easily connect with the book.

Introducing a translated book was a learning experience for me as a parent, but I am confident that M will not need such help in the future.

Returning to the review, the stories of Taniya transport us through the tea gardens and rice fields of a quaint little town nestled at the foot of the Bhutan hills in Assam. Written in a compelling narrative, the author masterfully creates the impression that she is sitting alongside the reader, recounting the tales.

The introduction of Arnab Khura, not just by his name, Arnab but as Arnab Khura (Arnab uncle or Arnab chacha), reflects the typical way we address and speak about elders in India. This approach helps to establish a strong connection between the author and the young reader from the outset.

Arnab Khura, an ardent plant lover and dog enthusiast, had a pet dog named Tom, who lived a full life before passing away. The first few pages of the book recount Tom’s amusing antics, followed by his death, which causes heartbreak and emptiness in the family. Arnab’s daughter, Jilmil, is especially devastated by Tom’s loss. In an effort to lift her spirits, Arnab embarks on a journey to find a new pet dog, which takes him to Bhutan.

Along the way, the author beautifully describes the lifestyle of the Bhutias and the breathtaking landscape of the region.

Arnab eventually finds two adorable puppies that resemble soft toys and have a skin color resembling Marie biscuits. He is completely smitten by them and purchases them from a Bhutia man before heading back home.

Arnab brings home the two puppies – a male named Jigma and a female named Taniya. They are complete opposites, with Jigma being the silent one and Taniya being playful and mischievous. The story follows Taniya’s adventures, while also reminiscing about Tom and introducing Jigma’s character as well.

I appreciate how the author creatively included tips for pet care and certain particulars to keep in mind while raising a pet.

For instance, the author emphasizes the difference between dogs living in lower and upper hills and cautions against tempting them to leave their natural habitat. Additionally, the author mentions the importance of ensuring that the pet finishes their big job in the garden and cleans their paws before entering the house, as dogs’ excreta contains worms and eggs.

While the book provides plenty of laughter and entertainment with Taniya’s amusing antics, it is also poignant parts.

It is important to note that the book may be a bit difficult for younger children to comprehend without a prior introduction to the concept of the life and death cycle. However, with a little guidance and support from parents, the book can be a helpful tool to introduce this important topic to children. The author has done an excellent job of presenting the concept in a sensitive and age-appropriate manner.

In conclusion, if you have ever owned a pet, Taniya’s adventures are sure to make you reminisce about your own furry friend. Even if you have never had a pet before, the book may spark a desire to have one after reading about Taniya’s lovable and endearing personality.

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Disclaimer: We got this book as part of #kbcReviewerSquad and we feel happy and privileged to be part of it as we are free to have our opinions and give an honest review of the book.

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