The book came in a yellow envelope with a hand written address. Ammu and Pattu have taken to associating anything not a standard size mail as gifts for them. For once, I did not have to disappoint them. The book slid out of the cover in its rich chocolate-brown cover and the girls were hooked. They removed themselves to the sofa to flip through and look at the pictures. I debated running behind them to grab it but figured it might be best to watch them read it themselves. As they turned each page, they made up a story involving sparklers, bangles and diyas. By the time they were on the last page, they concluded Diwali is a time to make dreams come true.
I read it out to them over dinner and realized they had grasped the story arc pretty well with just the illustrations. As we turned each page, they oohed and aahed and gasped at all things pretty. The book deals with Diwali in simple terms. The kids can relate to the three curious monkeys and which child is not excited about gifts? So, as they reveal the essence of Diwali at the end, they were happy enough to be wishing for a coin and a puja thaali for themselves come this Diwali.
As a parent, what I liked about this particular book is that the illustrations are excellent. A picture is worth a thousand words and this case, literally so. The language is simple. The number of characters are minimal. The grandma using video chat to explain questions on festivals is something that my children could relate to.
Personally, growing up in Southern India, the story surrounding Deepavali I grew up on is different. So, I was not able to relate to the story or the customs. But I suspect for anyone north of the Vindhyas, this book is a keeper. I only wish they have a version for us southerners.
Looking for a book to introduce Diwali to your little one? I highly recommend The Diwali Gift by Shweta Chopra and Shuchi Mehta. They also have an app based on the book for the kids to play dress up. Look it up at Three Curious Monkeys.
Disclosure: I was offered a copy of this book for an unbiased review