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Meera at the zoo?

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EAGER PARTICIPANTS : Waiting to hear about the zoo.
EAGER PARTICIPANTS : Waiting to hear about the zoo.

PAROMITA PAIN

A common enough question – What did you see? But read the book to find out!

You must have asked many people this question — “What did you see?”

Did it ever occur to you that there might be a story in this? Author Nandini Nayar did and with Soumya Menon created the What Did You See picture book. Now this is just about little people. It also has a mummy who is very excited that Meera is going to the zoo.

There are many ways to read and enjoy a book. For this one, Tulika Publishers held a workshop for mothers and young readers so that everyone could enjoy the story together.

“Are you ready for a story?” asked Padma, the storyteller, and of course everyone was. The tale is set by Meera's mom asking her — “What did you see at the zoo?”.

You would imagine that Meera would have lots to say considering how exciting a zoo can be, but she doesn't.

No answer?

So many questions

To every excited — “Didn't you see the monkeys jump”? or “Did you hear a lion roar?” , Meera has one answer — “No”.

While the tale is just about a few lines, it's the illustrations that catch the eye. A confused Meera and an excited mother, fierce lions and dancing peacocks, are all captured in simple strokes that will inspire you to draw as well.

Padma and the other members of the workshop are convinced Meera has gone off to school instead of the zoo by mistake.

It's only at the ends that we realise that Meera was supposed to have gone to the zoo only the next day. Mom should have held onto her questions!

Now this wasn't just about a story. Padma had an animal magic box which opened to reveal exciting prizes of animal masks and more. There was a theme song to dance to as well. “What did you see at the zoo,” yelled the enthusiastic participants, “Did the monkey stare at you?”

WHAT DID YOU SEE by Nandini Nayar, pictures Soumya Menon, Tulika Publishers, Rs. 95


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