Monsoon Afternoon

Title: Monsoon Afternoon
Author: Kashmira Sheth
Illustrator: Yoshiko Jaeggi
Publisher: Peachtree
Age Group: 4-8 years

Soft watercolors all over, stroked elegantly to reveal pleasing sights of peacocks, cows, and paper boats. A city drenched in monsoon. And that is not the only picture this book paints, there are images that bear the warmth of a special relationship.

This book helps kids get acquainted with an Indian setting and partake in the experiences that stem from the smell of moist terrain typical of monsoons in India. The story also unravels a treasured bond between a boy and his grandfather. The little boy is looking around for familial playmates, just as the first drops of rain hit the earth. His efforts in vain, we see grandpa appear from behind with a tempting offer to sail paper boats. A monsoon afternoon well savored – swinging from aerial shoots, witnessing a peacock’s glorious spread, and hopping on to dadaji.

Our little friend, now comfortably settled on his old man’s shoulders, turns inquisitive. Did monsoon come when you were little? he asks. Will monsoon come when I become a dadaji? Our eyes drift to the corner in sepia where dadaji as a little boy is swinging from a banyan tree. I closed the book with a good read of the author’s notes on her monsoons in India, what the rains meant to her and what they brought with them – the mango season, time for indoor games, and the season for sicknesses too. A great way to talk to children about ways of life when seasons change in a land different from their own. Rains always excite children, and in this book they can find joy in knowing how other kids spend their rainy afternoons in faraway places.