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Publisher – Penguin ( Duckbill)

Illustrator – Priya Kuriyan

Published on Amazon on December 11, 2023

The 73-page book opens with Shayon clutching his chest and saying, “My stomach, it’s hurting”.

Shubha rolls her eyes. “That’s not your stomach.”

On page three, Shubha whirls around to find a “phuchka” of a man with a bushy beard and twinkling eyes: Agni Kaka.

Shayon is the disciple of Chhau Ustad Tapan Choudhury. And he has been practicing for three months.

The truth is that Shubha wants to be a Chhau dancer. However, the art form is practiced only by males.

Shubha’s father nicknamed “the lion” feels it’s not an art form meant for girls.

Read the book to find out whether Shubha gets to live out her dream of wanting to be a Chhau dancer.

My Thoughts About the Book

The book defies gender norms. It’s a lesson on feminism for children. Children will learn not to stereotype any role as male or female. It will teach children about diversity and inclusion. It presents a picture of a traditional Indian problem, where little girls are brought up by patriarchal fathers. It brings out the challenges girls have to face from a young age to achieve their dreams, despite having the talent. Most families encourage boys, but girls are forgotten or invisible from a young age even if they are more talented than their brothers.

And TBH, I didn’t know about the classical art form of Chhau until I picked up this book and googled it.

About the Illustrator

Priya Kuriyan’s illustrations are gorgeous. It is only the second Hole Book
by Duckbill that I’m reading. The first one was Chumki and the Elephants (hOle
books): (Penguin Petit), which I read on Kindle a while back. I have a
suggestion for readers planning to buy this book. Please buy a paperback copy. It’s
worth it and your child deserves it. Children love beautiful pictures, colors,
cut-outs, caricatures, illustrations, and the like.  

I found out from the illustrator bio in the book that Priya Kuriyan directed educational films for the Sesame Street show (India) and the Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI). She describes herself as a chronic doodler. Sharing a couple of illustrations here. I don’t mean to violate the copyright. Please contact me if you want to have it removed. 

About the Author

I’ve read several books by Vibha Batra, the author. Some of them include ‘The
Secret Life of Debbie G, Glitter and Gloss, The Reluctant Debutante, and a few
others. She has most recently been invited as a judge by IIT, Madras, and Team
Saarang (who ensured that her talk did not clash with actor Farhaan Akhtar’s

Vibha Batra describes herself as “an author, poet, adperson, and eating ustad. Her dancing skills are limited to breaking into a happy jig at the sight of mithai-mishti-sweets-desserts.”

She has published 25 (plus?) books in several genres. I have also attended
one of her events ages back, which was held at Odyssey Bookstore, Chennai. At
the book launch, there was a humor-filled event with a stand-up comedian. I’ve
also interviewed her sister, Richa Tilokani. Here is the link
to the interview – The Teachings of Bhagavad Gita by Richa Tilokani

This review is powered by Blogchatter Book Review Program – https://www.theblogchatter.com/


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Aishwariya Laxmi

I’m Aishwariya. I’m passionate about writing, reading, marketing communications, books, blogging, poetry and editing. I’ve donned several hats, such as freelance journalist, copywriter, blogger and editor.


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