Monday, February 18, 2013

The Stupendous Timetelling Superdog

A dog who can tell the time, a world where clocks suddenly stop working, the Black Hole of Time where Orange Marmaladies - the Original Timekeepers of the Universe - take a chip off the Master Clock of Rock to teach humans to notice them (this fails miserably: clocks stop working, but humans remain obsessed with time) - such delightful premises to have in a story. And The Stupendous Timetelling Superdog, in the hands of Himanjali Sankar, turns out to be a delightful story, delightfully told.

My awareness of young reader literature is minimal. My kid will turn five soon and first and second level Ladybirds are what I'm accustomed to. Therefore it was with eagerness that I agreed to read and review Young Reader books from Duckbill. As I saw it, a preparatory course in a journey I will soon have to take with my own child.

The star of The Stupendous Timetelling Superdog is a dog named Rousseau, and like his namesake from the eighteenth century, the world looks up to him. He is a regular dog who does regular doggie stuff except that when asked to tell the time, he can. He lives with two adorable girls Kaavya and Anya and their mom Mrs Ghosh. The father, Mr Ghosh, makes a cameo that clearly shows him as a stiff, over planning person. A clockwork man, who, fittingly, lives in a German town! It is not clear whether the Ghoshes are separated by circumstance or choice and it doesn't matter to the story. When the Orange Marmaladies, annoyed that the humans are blind to their friendliness, decide to stop time (being the original timekeepers and all), they do so in the hope that they will then become visible to humans and perhaps can become their friends as well. But time has other plans for the Marmaladies, the humans and especially Rousseau.

Interestingly, Jean Jacques Rousseau, after whom Rousseau the dog has been named, was the son of a watchmaker.

In her gentle mocking of media frenzy and fame, her tucking in of little treats for adults who may be reading this book, Himanjali has created a thoroughly enjoyable read. Heartily recommended for that seven+ year old in your life. Or for that matter, recommended for you as well.