Some time back I compiled a list of Children’s books by Indian Authors and consciously started looking for the books that can feature there. My initial list is very sketchy, but I am reading new books to update that. Sacked! By Deepa Agarwal is a book short stories for children written in folk tales style. Deepa is an author of many children’s books, but this is the first book I have read of hers.
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I read the 15 short stories in Sacked! every night as my bedtime reading. I read it one story at a time. It was like going back to school days when we still thought that trees, animals, and humans could talk to each other. When beautiful princesses had magical powers and when princes would travel to the other end of the world to get their princess. The stories where the poor but honest Brahmin gets rewarded in mysterious ways and when the intelligence of a queen can save the kingdom.
Simple, uncomplicated stories set in the fictional times always leave you with a smile. You wonder at the imagination of the author and the fluidity of the narrative as the stories move from village homes to jungles to kingdoms across the seas. There are stories that tell you that you can achieve anything if you think big and think creatively. I really liked the story called Golden Rat – that tells you that you can convert even a dead rat into a source of wealth if you think and if you work hard.
Stories are illustrated with monochrome sketches by Anupama Ajinkya Apte. Illustrations are simple. They do not add to the story much. What they do is that they help is break the monotony of the written word. Illustrations would work well for the children, who would dread seeing continuous pages of written word even when the publishers have used a big font.
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There is only one factual mistake that I found in one of the stories – the bears do not eat humans or any other meat. They are vegetarians. They do attack and kill if they sense a danger from them. Having said that in the realm of fiction, this can also flow.
Sacked! is a small book that you gift it to children around you or read it to them. The folk tales always take a stretch of the imagination, where anything is possible. But, in the end, it is always the good that wins over the evil. There is always a message or as they say, a truth hidden in the story. But in such an entertaining way that you get the message without any hint of preaching.
Read it for the simple joys of life!