Three books that promise to take you on an adventure that you are not likely to forget in a hurry.

Places and people, especially from different countries are fascinating. They can be doubly so when they are from the ancient world a world that no longer exists, but strongly shrouded by magical mystery that keeps us spellbound.

Here is a triple treat from the IETS Publications in their “Lost and Found” series to take you on an imaginary journey to lands that promise excitement, adventure and mystery.

(pssst, the information is sure to get you higher grades too when it comes to exams, history and what not .)

How Noor Found her Family is a story from Arabia. Noor belongs to a Bedouin family — “Bedouins are nomadic tribes who travel across the desert in big caravans, with their belongings and animals.”

But one morning, Noor gets up to find herself all alone in the cave while her whole clan has vanished. She gets to know that robbers who terrorise Bedouins and rob and kill unmercifully are the cause of her family's disappearance. She was terrified as her family was rich as they bred Arab steeds. She hears another group of Bedouins coming and decides to get their help. Being a smart kid, she decides to disguise herself as a boy as this will clear lots of obstacles in her path. Will Noor find her family forms the rest of the story.

You can bid goodbye to boredom as chunks of history are interspersed with the story, which makes it easy to “digest” and thus to remember. The distinct landscape is beautifully described as well as the lifestyle of the people. Cleverly the author has intertwined the important meeting places of the markets of Bagdad, Basra and Constantinople, the exotic trade that goes on there, the intellectuals who gather there to exchange thoughts and ideas – these make an exciting read as well as gives you a store of information which is aided by the large colourful illustrations.

Vijayanagara: Lost Kingdom is “found” by little Krishna and his pet monkey Bholu as they swing on the long aerial roots of the banyan and are thrown back in time — to the kingdom of Vijayanagara. The whole landscape was unfamiliar. There were many trees on either side of the road, horses were tied under the trees and so many strange things happening around him. He meets Ranga, a boy of his age, who takes him under his wings. This book tells of the lifestyle of the people — Krishna notes the loads of jewellery people where and he guesses right that the country is rich because of the trade it has with China, Persia, Ceylon, Portugal and othr places. He gets to know what a “kulavi” is despite the fact that it sent into uncontrollable giggles. And gues what who get to hear about a person you know very well…Tenali Raman who was the king Deva Raya's court jester. Krishna also has the opportunity to see the famous temples – Virupaksha and Vittala and admire the architecture and the sculptures, and the stone chariot of Garuda.

He shares a meal with Ranga in his home and enjoys a meal of rice, other delicacies with fish freshly caught from the Tungabhadra. Krishna is thrilled to see the money they use in Vijayanagara – the heavy golden ones and the ones that were light in weight, the copper and the different names they had. They go to the top of the hill and see the whole outlay of the city and the diffeent buildings spread out – the Queens bath, the elephants stables ( the elephants are fed with huge kitchari balls twice a day and if they are not tasty they throw a tantrum.)

Nuggets of information are to be found on “tablets of stone” that go hand in hand with the illustrations, maps and a beautiful illustration and information on the Queens Bath.

But how do Krishna and Bolu get back home? And what does Krishna find in Bolu's palm? Is it all a dream?

The third journey you make is through Shai's Story that highlights the Egyptian civilisation. Starting with a brilliant introduction of Egypt on the map and important geographical information, we step into the tomb. The double page illustration is vivid and we join the 4000-year-old royal cat of the queen.

Did you ever want to know the process of mummification? Well the process is carefully explained with illustrations. And you can learn to write your name is hieroglyphics. Again important fact boxes abound along with spectacular illustrations that leave no room for imagination.

There is a picture puzzle too – try spotting factors that are important part of the agricultural scene.

Life — in the city (government and otherwise), you get to know the contributions Egyptians made to math, astronomy and architecture amongst other things. Life at home is described, including the yummy food they eat as well as the defects of impurity in food, the dress, the cosmetics they used – lipstick was made of clay called red ocre and nails were dyed with henna.

The highlight of the book is the boxes that give you information the way you like it — short and sweet. This makes the journey enjoyable and easy to remember.

Don't you think it's time to set off? Bon Voyage.


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