‘Venkat and Friends’ Is A Delightful Book For Both Kids And Parents

This contains the very homily, in fact extraordinarily ordinary day-to-day episodes in the life of Venkat and his gang of friends. It is through grasping the extraordinary miracles that lurk in the ordinary incidents of a curious child’s mind and his surroundings, that the author has produced this very readable book.

Consider for example the first incident.

A mother is a proud recipient of a green award for her architectural innovations and brings the trophy home. Our hero Venkat just as every excited hyper-energetic child, performs some in-house acrobatics and the trophy gets broken.

The reactions and responses that follow seem natural. The way the subsequent events play out is neither preachy nor awkward. There is anger, embarrassment, guilt, sorrow and ultimately forgiveness and realization of mistakes.

Again, the important aspect to be remembered is that at no point does the narrator get preachy.

In fact, this book is also a good guidebook for parents and grandparents. The age of corporal punishment is over. Sometimes, many think it was good and that is how children should be brought up. Wrong.

The fact that today most parents hesitate to go for corporal punishment is an improvement in our sense of morality. But the problem is that the pendulum swings to the other end and parents end up appeasing the indulgences of their children. Personally, I have seen parents taking a covert pride in their son being a bully or their daughter being a snob.

This book shows a positive, creative alternative to both painful punishment and fanciful indulgence.

The book also deals with the fascination some adults and most children have for stray animals, particularly kittens, and explains the problems and responsibilities that come with taking them in.

It also deals with sibling rivalry and how generational wisdom can heal and make relations healthier; even as a child may face what he or she may consider as a problem that no adult understands.

A thread that runs through the book is that most problems that children of this generation face are also problems that the adults would have faced in their own times in their own ways. By reaching out to positive and healthy memories associated with those problems, we can actually empathize with our own children.

If in a rare case a parent may lack such memories then surely they can always reach out to this book.

Every ‘adventure’ of Venkat and his friends at its end has some facts sheets and hands-on activities. Thus, the children get to know about green architecture. They do crossword puzzles which include finding the different ‘state animals’ of India. A fact sheet introduces the children to the different performing arts in various states, thus familiarizing them with India’s diversity and also emphasizing the natural unity in diversity.

The children are asked to write their own stories and provided space in the book. There is even a recipe for do it your-self power laddu.

Thus, the book is at once a story book, an activity book and even a potential journal. It is intelligently designed to boost the creativity of the children in a hands-on manner.

The book is for children but it is also definitely a guidebook for parents.

This book will kindle in the child the desire to have parents like the Nanna and Amma of Venkat – who talk to the children and understand their problems and correct them ever so sweetly but firmly, with values ​​and wisdom of the family. Really, this cute little book is a book for all families.

Make sure to gift it to your children and then be sure to make the child realize that it is about his or her own family as well.

Also Read: Remembering Uncle Pai: The Man Who Got Young India Enchanted With Comics


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