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THE SEED (a bilingual book from India)




Since there is motivation galore right now at Saffron Tree, it could not get easier for me to slouch down to write, combating the chaos generated in the room by my DH and his little associate. The book I am going to review is bilingual, meant for the 3+ age group, that I picked up during my trip to India last year. The two languages involved are Tamil (a South Indian language which is spoken in the state of Tamil Nadu, which also happens to be my native language) and English. It is published by Tulika . Tulika also has the equivalent of it in 6 other Indian languages. The title of the book is THE SEED, vidhai , written and illustrated by Deepa Balsavar,Tamil by Karkuzhali. Check out http://www.tulikabooks.com/bilingualbooks6.htm for your language.

A small girl chances upon a tiny seed, puts it in a pot, waters it and takes care of it. The ecstasy from seeing it sprout soon morphs into heaps of anticipation. Will it have flowers? Will it have fruits? Will it grow tall? Will it stay small? are some of the questions that she tries to find answers to, from her near and dear. The climax is that the little girl ceases to question and realizes that what it turns out to be or how it looks like doesn't really matter to her (and that she will always love it)!

Colorful and child-friendly illustrations, an Indian backdrop, some stylish art of botany encompassing minimal text. Neat. There is always a BUT - (a long pause), can't quite put my finger on it though. Moving on with the kudos, I really liked it for the incident that unraveled the thoughts of the deceptively little mind. The book has a dozen simple sentences, in English, on the top of the page and the Tamil equivalent of it at the bottom. The language, at least in the Tamil version, is very conversational and hence practical. Although I did not purchase the book in a vigorous attempt to make my daughter speak/write/read Tamil, the fact that she has, quite effortlessly, picked up the equivalents to seed, water, sun, pot, tree, tall, small in a second language does make me feel good. Bilingual books have come to be embraced by many, especially by people raising children away from 'home'. The Seed is right for the right reasons.