Catch That Cat for children is a celebration of how a girl with disability manages life on her own

It’s possible the last story you read about a child with disability was how that did not stop him / her from “achieving success”, with “grit and determination”.

This International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3), you have a fresh story. In the just-published children’s book Catch That Cat (readers aged four and over), Tharini Viswanath tells the tale of Dip Dip, a spunky school girl who goes in search of her friend’s cat Kaapi. This feisty girl on a wheelchair will stop at nothing till she finds the cat that loves to play catch-me-if-you-can.

Several turns make the book a must-read. Little Meemo, the cat-owner goes to Dip Dip for help, and she sets off. Her brother wheels her to the bus stop and goes his way. Dip Dip embarks on her search adventure, checking behind homes, under bushes, inside garbage cans, till she reaches a hill. Here she hurtles down, proud that her wheels make her faster than her friends. She finds Kaapi perched on a branch and hoists herself, to be with the frightened feline.

Just another kid

Yes, Dip Dip needs help — she is no super-kid — but that should not take anything away from what she wants to or how she wants to do it. She is another naughty, tousled-haired kid. She is the kid you chide for teasing friends, breaking a window pane, and well, going after a cat. Tharini Viswanath picks the right words to tell you that, and Nancy Raj captures the exuberance of the story in her expressive illustrations.

When you are told the book has been pre-ordered by several schools (government/non-government) and non-formal education centres and libraries, including Chetna Charitable Trust (Chennai), Aid India (Tamil Nadu), QUEST (Mumbai), OELP (Rajasthan), and Chirag (Uttarakhand), in English, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati and Bengali, a crucial fact becomes clear: there is dearth of children’s books that talk of disability sensibly, joyously, naturally.

Catch That Cat is a is celebration over stereo-typing. Dip-Dip doesn’t need your sympathy. She can manage her life, thank you. Just be there when she gets into a spot.

The 28-page book is priced at Rs. 150. For details, visit www.tulikabooks.com.