Monkey Trouble and Other Grandfather Stories
Ruskin Bond
Priya Kuriyan
age group: 
7+ yrs
Number of pages: 
Red Turtle
grandfathers humour

For children unwilling to read too much print - for those who want lots of colourful pictures - or for parents who discourage children from reading comics because they don't have complete sentences - here's a perfect book.

Featuring stories by Bond with his well loved characters (like Grandfather Grandma and Aunt Ruby in the first story) it is brilliantly illustrated by Kuriyan with her penchant for hilarious, quirky details.

This book shows how perennial, readable, touching and funny Bond's stories are - no matter what form they take. No one can write for children with humour and wisdom and instil a love for nature the way he does.

To add to this, Bond's old stories come alive here thanks to Kuriyan's inimitable illustrations.

Let all worried "anti comic strip" grown ups be assured that the stories are narrated in perfectly crafted sentences with description of people, details and settings. This is no ordinary comic book to be dismissed as such.

The Toto story that this three story volume starts with is present in the older Bond Omnibus and other editions, but this comic version is still more hilarious while retaining the flavour of the old version.

In this first story, Grandfather brings home Toto the monkey and all hell breaks loose.

In the second, Jai, a shepherd boy learns self reliance and courage from his Dadu and Dadi as he bravely protects his Dadu's sheep from a vicious eagle in the mountains.

In the third Rakesh learns patience and resilience from both nature and his Grandpa as they plant a cherry seed and watch it grow.

Kuriyan's illustrations capture emotions of every sort - hilarity and madness in the first - Tutu dousing himself in the bathtub, clawing Major Malik's head or creating havoc in the bazaar- the breathtaking splendour of the mountainscape in the second story The Eye of the Eagle and the terror of the bird with its sharp eyes and talons - and finally the beautiful warmth of the bonding of grandpa and grandson as well as the wise serenity with which A Special Tree ends.

The one thing that knits all three stories together is the love and wisdom of all three grandfathers who feature in each of these tales. The grandpa who brings Toto into the house is fun loving and wacky. In the second the "pahaadi" grandpa is both wise and caring about his grandchild and allows him freedom to learn and grow. In the third the grandpa becomes a gentle teacher to his grandson. The old folk are kind and understanding - not grumpy and lecturing as some tend to be.  

A collector's item for all children and not -so -young Ruskin Bond fans too. And might one add - a great gift from grandparents to their grandchildren - and why not from kids to their grandparents too?

Reviewed by Urmila Ramakrishna