Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Story Blanket

Story: Ferida Wolff,  Harriet May Savitz
Illustrations: Elena Odriozola
Image Courtesy: Flipkart
Pattu Rating: 4.5

Babba Zarra has a heart that is huge enough to love everyone in her village. No wonder the children of the village visit her every evening for a story. Babba Zarra has a special blanket that she spreads out for her little visitors, to keep them warm and cozy. One day she notices a hole in Nikolai's shoes and decides to make him a socks. But getting someone to dleiver wool to their snow covered village seems to be next to impossible. Babba Zarra always believed that every question has an answer. As she mulls over the problem, an idea dawns on her. She just has to unravel a bit of wool from her story blanket! The story thus unfolds with Nikolai finding a pair of socks at his doorstep, the postman receiving a scarf, the school teacher getting a pair of mittens and the children suddenly find that the story blanket has shrunk. They cuddle up closer each day. By the time everyone in the village get their surprises, the story blanket has disappeared altogether. How the villagers find the source of their little presents and how they repay Babba Zarra for her kindness makes the rest of the story. I couldn't help feeling that Babba Zarra's kindness is what kept the villagers warm more than all the wollens that she knit for them.
What I liked about the story was that it didn't fuss too much over Babba Zarra's kindness, else it might have probably been a bit too cloying. The illustrations are beautiful in soft pastels and simple lines.

Pattu struggled a little to understand 'snow' and how people in the village felt 'cold' etc. I don't blame her - we live in Chennai :)
She slept over it the first day and took one more day for it to sink in. Then the questions started, 'what is snow like?' 'like ice?' 'hands will freeze?' 'what will happen if there's a hole in the shoe?' 'Did Nikolai cry?' 'you need thick blankie?' 'Babbu Zarra is a good lady' 'She helped everyone?' and so on. Unlike lot of other books that left her excited, animated, made her jump and scream and all that, this one left her deep in thoughts - positively, I gather.


artnavy said...

sounds beautiful and thought provoking

Shankari said...

wow! to leave a child deep in that's a book to pick up for Na. Gosh, you bloggers make me wish I was in India so that I can buy all these wonderful books for the kids. Here by the time I search for the books in the stores, I go mad!

Jayashree said...

LG had trouble understanding snow the first time I talked to her about it, too. Then I showed her some pics and that helped her understand.

Uma said...

Art - it is beautiful in a very simple, matter of fact way.

Shankari - I saw it on Flipkart, try it.

Jayashree - Quite understandable - I referred to some T&J episodes and she understood.

asha said...

Uma try to take pattu to bimba at srinagar colony in chennai. It is a story session with a golu like tableau.It is there every sat.

Uma said...

Asha - I've heard...yet to try. Thanks for reminding me... :)
Have you tried it?