Title: The Great Escape
Author: Menaka Raman
Illustrator: Sheena Deviah
Publisher: Duckbill Books, Penguin Random House India
Recommended Age: 7 – 10 years
Duckbill hOle books are most admired by parents of children who are transitioning from short colorful story books to chapter books, with entertaining black & white illustrations. Indian setting, simple language, large font size, witty situations and true to life storylines make these books very special to young readers. Duckbill hOle books can be identified by a hole on the top right corner throughout the book. It is fun to see cute meaningful illustrations jumping, flying and flowing across the holes.
The author, Menaka Raman has weaved this story so beautifully, that the reader will not be able to decide whether to pause to feel the pain or keep reading for more laughter! The story brings up many problematic situations and I found myself choked with realization at many places. My 8 year old, on the other hand, was focused on the specifics of the incidents and priceless statements of the boys. She did point out a profound insight about human behaviour i.e. our best achievements are never satisfying enough, we immediately start looking at better than the best and probably that’s the reason we evolved to be humans.
Sheena Deviah’s illustrations bring everything to life in the book. From the classroom, bathroom, corridors to gardens everything is so relatable. After reading the book I realized that the cover page itself completely describes the conclusion. Every illustration in and around the bathroom was hilarious and the same set of illustrations also conveys exactly what Hari and Kris are going through.
“The Great Escape” is about Sachit who wants to escape school because it is a beautiful day outside and there is nothing exciting at school, of course! Ever heard about bunking? It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but Sachit is determined.
The book has an impressive start with a mix of mathematics and mockery. Sachit manages to go out of the class but he still feels lost as if he is inside an unfamiliar maze. It’s difficult to find comfort in a new place when your only friend is never available. Hari roams around the school campus on purpose and he thinks it is cool. But, most of the time we are not as we think we are! Kris has his own coping strategy to fight (or flight?) his share of problems.
The book well highlights the huge impact adults have on children’s thoughts. The reason could be ignorance, pampering, busy schedule or just an overheard small talk.
The story goes on with Sachit totally determined on his escape plan, Hari being playful and Kris helping in yo-yo mode. It gets extremely hilarious once the boys are in action. They plan, try, plan again, try more and more but their escape eventually turns into another escape.
“You can run, you can hide, but you can’t escape my love…”A verse from ‘Escape’ by Enrique Iglesias
The best part of childhood is enthusiasm. Sachit might be feeling lost in Wunderkind Academy but he’s not lost himself. He knows what he must do… after all it’s a beautiful day! The great day deserves “The Great Escape”!!
“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.”William Butler Yeats
Grab your copy to read through the last chapter. We laughed so much that we had tears escaped our eyes!!
The bookset of 25 hOle books is also available and works out awesome for gifting throughout the year!
If you enjoyed this review and want to know how to bunk school/office as well as wish to grab this book from Amazon (kbc affiliate link),CLICK & BUY NOW!