Feedback on Our Books
At the Seaside written by Swapna Dutta and illustrated by Amitava Sengupta looks like an interesting book but falls short of almost every aspect of our idea of a presentable book. Peppered with tidbits of information about jellyfish, salt from the sea, the activity of fishermen, dangers at sea, and more, the story is narrated by a young girl whose name however remains a secret even in the days of heightened awareness about the rights of the girl child. Inspite of the colour, the illustrations look stale: even the breeze blowing from the sea fails to add life or movement. The fonts used are innovative, but if we look from the perspective of child readers, fonts like these usually make for difficult reading. The arrangement of text in the book is extremely haphazard and defies all theories of page-setting as it keeps alternating between centre aligned, right aligned, text wrap, left aligned and so on. The storyline is extremely arbitrary with random dialogues, events and information being thrown in. Finally, the book fails to make the young reader want to visit the seaside.