The Lonely King and Queen
Deepa Balsavar
Deepa Balsavar
age group: 
3+ yrs
Number of pages: 
family adoption
picture book, fiction


HOW does one tackle the subject of adoption with children without being pedantic or didactic? How does one even introduce the topic and blend it seamlessly into the quotidian of everyday life? Deepa Balsavar's 'The Lonely King and Queen' tells us how. This delightful book poignantly simplifies the very complex issue of adoption in an engaging story of a king and queen who go in search of a voice they hear, leading them to the smiling face of a child. b

The genius of Balsavar's book is in her characterisation of the king and queen. They are ordinary people like you and me, who cook, clean, go to work, entertain friends at home, read books, sip a cup of tea when tired, check email, and wear simple clothes. Even their 'palace' is an ordinary home, filled with cushions, potted plants, rugs and comfortable chairs. For me, the only fairy-tailsh quality of their life was the cosy little room in the attic and the almost apologetic crown on their heads!

It is this refreshing quality of her illustration that immediately draws you in, helping you empathise with the characters even more. One almost feels that it is the illustration that is guiding the narrative instead of the other way round, and the narrative seems to gladly accept that role. Because Balsavar's lucid narration keeps you guessing till the end, the search replete with a sense of an underlying innocent humour.

More than the element of unexpected surprise, it is the unexpected joy you feel that is the success of this book. And the fact that the author manages to retain the ordinariness of life, so wonderfully captured in all the pages, right till the end, making the transition of the child from one home to the other simple and beautiful.

This is definitely a book that must be read aloud by parents to children from the ages of three years and above.

This book is also available in: Hindi, Marathi, Gujrati, Bangla, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malyalam.


Reviewed by Praveena Shivram