Mangoes, Mischief, and Tales of Friendship: Stories from India by Chitra Soundar
Illustrator: Uma Krishnaswamy
Expected Publication Date: January 1st 2019
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Read Date: September 9th 2018
Genre: Children’s Fiction / Indian Folktale / Middle Grade
Grade range: Grade 1 – Grade 4
Age range: 6 yrs – 9 yrs
Can Prince Veera and his best friend outsmart the king’s trickiest subjects? Inspired by traditional Indian folktales, these stories are sure to delight.
Being a wise and just ruler is no easy task. That’s what Prince Veera discovers when he and his best friend, Suku, are given the opportunity to preside over the court of his father, King Bheema. Some of the subjects’ complaints are easily addressed, but others are much more challenging. How should they handle the case of the greedy merchant who wishes to charge people for enjoying the smells of his sweets? And can they prove that an innocent man cannot possibly spread bad luck? Will Prince Veera and Suku be able to settle the dispute between a man and his neighbor to whom he sells a well — but not the water in it? Or solve the mystery of the jewels that have turned into pickles? Illustrated throughout by Uma Krishnaswamy, these eight original tales by Chitra Soundar task Veera and Suku with outwitting the kingdom’s greediest, wiliest subjects. Are the two clever boys up to the challenge?
Mangoes, Mischief, and Tales of Friendship: Stories from India was beautifully illustrated collection short stories about two Indian boys one Prince and one farmer’s son and their amusing witty ways of solving the courtroom cases of kingdom. It is perfect book for young reader aged 6+ that explores moral lessons of conscience, impartial treatment and behavior, and being wise and humble.
I loved Indian feel of the book and that cover. The stories were based on Indian folk tales set in imaginary kingdom of India. The Prince Veera and Suku reminded me of Birbal and his wits.
The book was written in two parts with same characters and same theme. Both parts started with the same but slight different introduction of King Bheema‘s kingdom, his son- Prince Veera, and Veera’s best friend- Suku, who was poor farmer’s son but very smart and intelligent like Prince Veera.
Both boys were 10 yrs old with sharp and witty mind and had a great ability of solving affairs of king’s court. One day when king was ill they took king’s place and solved many cases of kingdom’s people and that’s how they started their own court in absence of king helping people.
King Bheema was most humble, generous king and great father. I admired King for giving his son opportunity of solving the cases, letting him play with a farmer’s son, how he understood both boys and never minded when his son pointed out his mistake.
I loved Prince Veera’s bravery who stood up against the King himself and making him realize his mistake. Suku was great friend who stayed by Veera’s side and like his friend he was brave and humble. He shaded light on the cases which were overlooked by Prince or King and gave the best advice.
Both kids learned lot from their cases. I liked how thy developed with each stories understanding people of kingdom and turning wise, humble, cleverer with each case, teaching lessons, making fair decisions in favor of needy and helpless people without crossing their lines and hurting anyone’s feeling.
I loved to read some silly cases and it was amusing to see both kids solving them so effortlessly. Each story in book gave insightful messages about justice, treating people right and fair and being wise and honest.
First story of the book, Veera’s first case was my favorite- It was with a message of poverty and how some people don’t have a privilege to buy expensive eateries. Kids and I myself love sweet and when we are given an option between vegetable and sweet we definitely go for sweets. Who doesn’t like them! But author conveyed very good message here through this story that one should appreciate what they are getting for food whether it’s expensive sweet or cheap but healthy vegetables.
Other stories were about lie and thievery and how conscience of guilty person works; about superstition and hasty judgment of people because of their own carelessness; about not to fool yourself by exaggerated false praises of people; and many neighbor feuds
Then there was a relative alert! It was my another most favorite – In this story Prince Veera’s infamous granduncle came to spend summer in his kingdom and tested Veera and Suku’s ability of running the court which was not at all easy. It was about the facing problems, accepting challenge and teaching lesson even to a relative but with all respect and without hurting their feelings. It was also about bravery, speaking for right and standing up against unfairness.
All of them were interesting making readers intrigued to read how these two small kids were going to outsmart people on their own tricks. Second part of the book was funnier and wittier than first one.
Illustrations were beautiful. They were exactly like pictured on cover but b/w resonating the theme of the story. They would have looked prettier with color but I like them anyway. I wish there were more stories in the book.
Overall, it was fun to read with pots of wisdom and wits blended in Indian flavors that all kids would love to taste. I highly recommend this book to all young readers.
Author: Chitra Soundar
To read more about author check out this link⇒ http://www.candlewick.com/authill.asp?b=Author&m=bio&id=8031&pix=y
For Book details and purchase link ⇒ http://www.candlewick.com/cat.asp?browse=Title&mode=book&isbn=1536200670&pix=y
*** Note: I received e-ARC via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author, publisher, and NetGalley. ***
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