Wednesday, October 28, 2020

LITTLE THIEF! CHOTA CHOR! A Picture Book Review and Giveaway

 Congratulations to Cathy Ogren who won Lulu and Rocky in Indianapolis from last week's blog.

It is my honor to present Vijaya Bodach's new picture book, LITTLE THIEF! CHOTA CHOR! (Reycraft, 2020) Vijaya is an active member of SCBWI-Carolinas and a great supporter of all things literary. Last year I reviewed her YA book, BOUND



REVIEW

True to "in media res," the book opens with Anjali startled awake by a strange noise. She decides to investigate.



 
She lifts the mosquito net and tries in vain to wake her mother and warn her. The floor is cooler than usual--the door must have been opened! Someone has entered their home!  Despite her fears, Anjali determines she will find the thief. 

Details of her home alert the reader to its distinctive nature: "Scrambling into the kitchen she saw that jars of pickles, chutneys, and jams stood silently on the shelves. Burlap sacks containing flour, lentils, and rice were tied closed."

When Anjali checks the front room, she is dismayed to find that her favorite sparkly skirt, some coins, and her mother's treasured silver comb are gone.



 

Anjali screams that a thief has invaded their home and quickly gathers the help of her mother, the neighbors, and the night watchman.



While her neighbors scour the street, Anjali looks for clues inside her home. She discovers that her smooth, pretty river rocks are missing and mistakenly thinks that the thief is a little girl who would treasure rocks like she does. 

Convinced that the thief is a frightened little girl, Anjali runs to her favorite hideout--the peepal tree. There she finds her sparkly skirt and is peppered by a few stones. When she looks up, she discovers the culprit!





Quick-witted, Anjali uses a banana to lure the monkey down.




With the mystery solved and her treasures returned, Anjali slips "into sweet dreams of her Chota Chor and their many adventures to come."




Nayantara Surendranath's vibrant illustrations magnify Vijaya's text. I loved how explosive they are and show Anjali's emotions as well as the events and the setting. Did you catch the bananas on Anjali's pajamas? Great artistic touch.

Coincidentally, while I was preparing this review I was in the middle of Daniel David Wallace's Plot Summit. I listened to Joseph Nassise describe how to use the character's emotional journey to connect to the reader. Although Nassise used novels as examples, LITTLE THIEF! CHOTA CHOR! fit his points too: A little girl has a problem that she reacts to emotionally, she tries and fails to resolve that problem, but ultimately finds the final piece to the puzzle and solves the mystery.

I also listened to Michelle Schusterman's talk about writing middle-grade mysteries. I think the rocks are a great example of a red herring

Make sure you read Vijaya's backstory behind writing this terrific multi-cultural picture book!

GIVEAWAY

One fortunate reader will win this book. Please leave me a comment by October 30 along with your email address if you are new to my blog. One of you has been leaving comments from "Unknown." Please leave your name and contact information to be entered in the giveaway. United States addresses only. 

23 comments:

Debbie Allmand said...

A great review. Congratulations Vijaya! It looks great. It has great illustrations too!

Unknown said...

Absolutely love it!

Linda Phillips said...

Congratulations Vijaya! It looks inviting with those lovely colors and sounds like a fun read for children and their parents!

Patti McChrystal said...

Sounds like a cute story and the illustrations look great.
Patti McChrystal (pattimc1963@gmail.com)

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Debbie, Patti, and Linda. Whoever is unknown, please tell me who you are!

Danielle H. said...

Mysteries are so much fun! I've not encountered many for this age group and the setting is excellent. Thank you for introducing us to this book.

Vijaya said...

thank you all and esp. carol for promoting chota chor while i'm out of commission. this was such a fun story to write.

Carol Baldwin said...

I'll add your name Danielle, and it was my pleasure, vijaya!

Sandra Warren said...

Congratulations Vijaya! I LOVE the Illustrations! The perspective on the cover is brilliant. What a cute, fun story for kids.

Carol Baldwin said...

I was just thinking about you Sandra! Thanks for entering.

Wendy said...

Looks like a great one - I have a 4 y/o girl who would love this!

Carol Baldwin said...

I bet she would, Wendy!!

Jana Leah B said...

This story looks so fun!
turtle6422 at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

I do love this one!
Hewi

Carol Baldwin said...

You;re in Hewi and Jana Leah!

Lois said...

What a fun book. And the bold illustrations match the tone of the story perfectly.
Thanks, Carol

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Lois. You are absolutely right!

Jody Jensen Shaffer said...

This looks great, Vijaya! I just shared on Twitter!

Vijaya said...

thank you all so much.

Carol Baldwin said...

JOdy, thanks for leaving a comment. You're in!

Rosi said...

Awwww. This does look like a really sweet book. Thanks for telling me about it. I will check it out.

Barbara Younger said...

What a cover, what illustrations, and what a story! I'd love to win a copy. Thanks for the chance.

Carol Baldwin said...

If you don't win, You have to get this book for your grandkids, Barbara!

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