“The Ammuchi Puchi” by Sharanya Manivannan, illustrated by Nerina Canzi was the perfect short story for me to read, after a long hiatus from reading books and book blogging.
Thank you Penguin Random House India for sending me a review copy of this awesome book.
Let’s get to the review. But before that, take a minute to admire the cover of the book.
At first sight, I fell in love with the illustrations. The beautiful depiction of the flowers in Anjali’s hair reminded me of the scene in the movie “Tangled”, where a group of children tied up Rapunzel’s hair in a gorgeous braid. The perfect selection of the colours also enhanced the reading experience.
The author narrates the story from Aditya’s POV and introduces the reader to Ammuchi, the beloved grandmother of Anjali and Aditya. Sitting on the swing in the front porch, she always told them to look for a ghost hiding in a tree facing the porch. They never could see the ghost. Yet, the story never failed to give Anjali the chills when she was younger. As they grew older, they knew better than to believe in ghosts. Yet, they listened to her description of the ghost she could see, and added the missing details about the ghost’s ‘physical appearance’ from their growing imagination.
On Aditya’s tenth birthday, Ammuchi passes away. Anjali, Aditya, Amma and Appa are heartbroken, and do their best to fill the gaping void that Ammuchi left behind. The game of describing the ghost in the tree does not excite them as much as it did before.
But then, the entry of a mystical creature in their lives acts as a balm to their grieving hearts. Was this Ammuchi’s way of reaching out to them from the beyond, in keeping with her affinity for all things magical?
The prose of the book is perfect for children, and will teach them the important lessons of: exploring their creativity, handling grief and the need for learning a variety of life skills from grandparents.
Also, one tip– The cover page summarises the details of the entire story. After reading the book to your child or after your child reads the book himself/herself, the cover page could be used as a starting point for a good discussion about the book and the morals it aims to share.
I give this book a 5/5 stars, and recommend it to children, specially those who have recently lost a grandparent.