Summer is all about doing whatever you want. I never liked being forced to read, and luckily, because I like to read, I never had to be forced to read. Here’s a list of things I’ve been reading this summer (although in India it is actually the Monsoon). I’d gladly recommend these titles to anybody and everybody and have also explained why. But hey, no pressure…
The Spectacular Spectacle Man by Vishakha Chanchani; TARA Publishing
Because you need a different point of view!
Meet Chashmuddin Chashmewale, and you absolutely must, because there never was a groovier salesman of spectacles. In this neat picture book that opens out into one giant rectangle or folds back into 12 tiny ones — depending on how you look at it — the spectacular spectacle man makes a charming plea to customers to buy his awesome spectacles. I was sold simply on the artwork and the cellophane shades on the cover and more delighted to find that it is written entirely in verse and filled with wordplay and humorous puns. The many shades of this book bring out the qualities that Chashmuddin’s miraculous spectacles offer: from opening up a new green world for you, making all that is tragic vanish and making the thin look fat and the short look tall, you’ve got to have ‘em all. I especially loved the reminders that miracles follow wherever you go and life without spectacles is no life at all.
Because summer is about journeys, the more magical, the better!
One of my all-time-favorites, if you still haven’t read this one, it is about time. A young boy named Haroun and his father, a story-teller named Rashid, also known as The Shah of Blah, go on an animated and adventurous journey to the Ocean of the Sea of Stories to find out why it is polluted. They meet many insane and entertaining characters like a water-genie, a talking hoopoe, a floating gardener and a pair of fish with mouths all over their bodies. Read this brilliantly hilarious book to understand why I’m cutting short the review. It’s a P2C2E, or a Processes Too Complicated to Explain.
Let’s face it, because you can’t get enough of reading someone else’s diary!
Recommended by our poet classmate Lenea Grace, this is a must-read for those of you who like it when you laugh so hard that your belly hurts. Written as a series of excruciatingly personal journal entries or in the secret diary format, Adrian Mole explains why growing up can be such a pain. Especially if you have a family as dysfunctional as Adrian’s. And really, who doesn’t? Adrian is fifteen and struggling to be noticed as an intellectual. His mother, who is fifty, is having a baby and his father’s trying to lie about a vasectomy. Adrian’s whole world seems to be falling apart. Could things get worse? Of course they do. After all, Adrian is getting spotty and is madly in love with Pandora. This tongue-in-cheek satire is the second title from the Adrian Mole series and a great travel companion.
Because nothing’s as sweet as nasty revenge!
As one reviewer on Amazon put it, this book is an “Awesome adventure of a shoe and a poo and how the two meet.” From the ingeniously funny chapter titles like “Chapter two million and seven” and “This chapter is named after my fridge because it keeps all my food fresh: Chapter FRIDGE” to revelations like “Dogs don’t like going to the toilet on the street. But their owners make them do it,” Roddy Doyle tells us a story about the gigglers: little furry creatures who serve justice to children that have been wronged by adults by placing a pile of dog poo right in front of the adult to step on. Fun. Fun. Fun.
The Boy with the Magic Numbers by Sally Gardner; Dolphin
Because a little magic can go a long way!
In this easy-flowing narrative, Sally Gardner tells us about little Billy Pickles whose dad suddenly leaves home. A funny shaped moneybox, a trip to New York City, luck with numbers, a kidnapping mystery and a taste of fame make this a charming, well-paced read. Gardner easily slips in and out of the adventure to tell us how Billy is feeling, especially when Billy meets his grandmother, Mighty Mamma, and his father’s new girlfriend, Trixie, for the first time.
Because you need the recipe for SOAP SCUM SPRAY SERUM!
Minerva and Max McFearless have just discovered that they are descended from a long line of monster-hunters. Their father has been kidnapped by the king of evil himself, Zarmaglog, and they’ve got to be fearless and rescue him. But it isn’t going to be easy. As the cover warns you: “The Monsters in this book STINK, EAT CHILDREN, SUCK OUT BRAINS, GROWL, STEAL and tell UNFUNNY JOKES.” Armed with disgusting and creative defensive recipes against monsters, scientific data on all things terrifying and priceless illustrations, this book is a hard-cover must have.
Book covers courtesy:
The Spectacular Spectacle Man — TARA Publishing; Haroun and the Sea of Stories — Penguin/GRANTA; The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole — Puffin; The Giggler Treatment — Scholastic; The Boy with the Magic Numbers by Sally Gardner — Dolphin; The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless by Ahmet Zappa — Puffin
Digital imaging by Riddhi Parekh