collage. There is something almost magical about images fashioned from
things which were once something else – magazine pages,
toffee wrappers, found objects, mummy’s old sari. I like to think that
each piece of a collage brings with it its own history, its own story
blending silently into the one being illustrated. And, given how engulfed we are these days by sophisticated, digitally enhanced images, the quiet, wholesome charms of hand crafted art are a refreshing
by the wheat fields. Along comes the village bully, Kaka, intending to
snack on her eggs. Quick thinking Munni agrees, but asks Kaka to go wash
his beak first. Silly Kaka, who is very vain about his appearance, is
upset by the idea of not looking his best and agrees. Only, things
going to be as simple as that, are they? He asks the stream for water
to wash himself, only to be told to fetch a cup first. So he goes to the
potter for a cup, only to be told to fetch some mud. And the fields are
baked hard in the summer sun, so Kaka needs a sharp tool to dig up the
mud. And so on, until Kaka learns a painful lesson.
I enjoyed the rich, vibrant colours of the illustrations in this book, and the innovative way scale has been played with. The lively mix of textures, prints and colours makes each page a pleasure to pore over, even rub with your fingers. I did feel sorry for poor Kaka, though!
‘Swoosh!’ A piece of paper floats in through the window, and Manju nearly throws it away. But in walks Wasim and, in his hands, the crumpled ball of paper becomes a ball. Then Syeda picks it up and, voila! The ball of paper is now a lollipop, like the ones she will sell one day when she has her own sweet shop. But now Bittu walks in and the lollipop is transformed ..again!
Paper Play celebrates that greatest of childhood toys – the imagination. The simplest of things – a piece of paper – sets Manju and her friends off on an imaginative journey, with each one taking turns to conjure up clever interpretations of the paper . In keeping with the whimsical theme, the illustrations too make inventive use of paper scraps. Shredded noodles of paper become the children’s hair; flowers bloom out of newspaper sheets; pieces of coloured paper become clouds, trees, windows, birds – even a hungry little donkey!
This book could be a good introduction to paper craft for young readers. The book ends with a page of instructions to turn a square of paper into a little hut – an easy introduction to origami. I also liked its subtle environmental message – don’t throw stuff away, it just might have a second life as something else. Like a whole book !