The Churki-Burki Book of Rhyme
Gita Wolf
Durga Bai
age group: 
5+ yrs
Number of pages: 
Tara Books
villages verse Gond art folk art
picture book, fiction


What must life be like for children in a village? This book follows two little girls, Churki and Burki through their day - right from the time they wake in the morning to the Kikiree-Kee call of the rooster to the time when the stars come out to shine and they fall asleep to the soothing lullaby of their mother.
Whilst Burki stays back to play, Churki goes with her parents as they set off to collect firewood in the forest. There they meet other villagers also picking up firewood and offering their customary thanks to the tree for the wood.

Thanks for the wood
Thank you, tree
Thanks for giving
This wood to me!

After collecting the wood, it is time to cook. Father picks a pumpkin from the kitchen garden as the girls play on a wooden see-saw crafted by their father as they wait. The day passes by in a blur - fishing, chasing birds away from the fields and playing games.

What makes this book special are the illustrations by Durga Bai, a Gond artist. She has effectively captured the nuances of her simple yet hard life with a series of powerful visual images in the rich Gond art form - of girls playing an assortment of games, protecting their fields from an onslaught of prowling animals and pesky birds.

A great book for a teacher or parent who will find a lot of interesting images to talk with their children about life in a village of India.

Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee