Cleverly written and beautifully illustrated, Pooni at the Taj Mahal is a fun and riveting chase set in the glorious Taj Mahal. Children will have a blast reading this one!
As an Indian in the U.S, conversation beginners with the foreigners are mostly a friendly namaste followed by 'I have visited the Taj Mahal when I was India.' Of course, Yoga is next on the list! That's how synonymous Taj Mahal is with India for people all over the world.
When my son asked me, "Amma, what is Taj Mahal?', I chose Pooni at the Taj Mahal, written and illustrated by Manjula Padmanabhan, and published by Tulika. I'm happy I did because it sourced the best offline tour of the Taj! After her famous Where’s That Cat?, Manjula Padmanabhan takes us on another Pooni chase, and the drama this time is set against the magnificent backdrop of the Taj Mahal!
The book is about a girl named Minnie, who is visiting the Taj Mahal with her family. She manages to sneak her feline pet Pooni into her bag on the trip. When the naughty green-eyed cat goes missing, Minnie and Sunny go grubbing on a cat chase, while the avid readers track the missing cat in each page, only to discover more about architecture!
What we loved
We loved the name of the cat Pooni, which could easily be tagged to the Tamil word 'poonai' for 'cat!'
We also enjoyed the illustrations! We loved the great views of the Taj, especially from different angles. We liked how the diverse and expressive crowd was drawn so effectively. We also loved the shades of the sky!
By focussing the story on the missing cat and its troubled owner, the author and illustrator actually ensnared the kids with the beauty of the Taj and spark a love for architecture. Minnie and Sunny might have missed the Taj, but not us! It is also fun for the child to track and find Pooni in the picture. It also gets the little readers to observe more about the Taj Mahal, in an indirect and fun way. Minnie and Sunny are looking for Pooni but we know where she is. Do they find Pooni in the end? You should read the book to find out!
I have visited the Taj and it's true that the majestic architecture was no match to the pictures I had seen earlier. But after visiting the Taj, I enjoy these illustrations, because they are exactly like how I remember seeing it. Manjula Padmanabhan should be commended for mesmerizing young minds through her words and frames.
A picture book to treasure!! We highly recommend this book!