As soon as you pick up The Great Storyteller by Ken Spillman, the first thing that draws your immediate attention is its beautiful illustrations. Full marks to the illustrator Manjari Chakravarti for creating a soothing and colourful canvas for kids. Despite the illustrations of characters in the book being created unconventionally, they attract you. I am informed that Manjari holds a Master’s degree in Visual Arts from Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan and has produced an unusual range of works, utilising skills in acrylics, printmaking, pen and ink, water colours, papier mache and paper assemblage.
The Great Storyteller is set in a jungle and is the story of three monkeys — Maya, Arun and Chi — and a wise old elephant, the Great Storyteller, who narrates stories to them every day. However, the elephant falls ill one day so much so that it dies. The forest turns into a cold and sad place. It is then that the three monkeys – Maya, Arun and Chi – decide to fill their world with imaginings. So they start making their own stories and life returns to the forest. The book teaches us an important lesson of life that no matter what happens, it can be dealt with. It also emphasises the restorative power of creativity.
Published by Scholastic India Pvt Ltd, The Great Storyteller costs Rs 250 (pp 36).