The Moustache Man
Priya Ramanathan
Garima Gupta
age group: 
5+ yrs
Number of pages: 
Karadi Tales
value education unity in diversity humour moustache
picture book, fiction, folktale


The Moustache Man, published by Karadi Tales, is a fun picture book illustrated in bright pink, blue and black watercolor and carries a strong message.

Nekgaon was a perfect village until mustached Manek Mustaki, holding a small wooden box, stepped off the Golden Temple Express train to visit. Since his visit, life in Nekgaon has never been the same.

During Mustaki’s visit he noticed how perfect things were - nothing happened: no one gossiped, the children were well-behaved, and the cows never wandered away. He knew something was amiss so he began asking his magic box questions. It revealed deep secrets the townspeople had been hiding from one another. After Mustaki revealed several of the secrets, the townspeople urged Mustaki to ask his box more questions. Mustaki stilled the crowd by stating that the box only talks to people with moustaches; he urged them all to grow a moustache so that upon his return the magic wooden box would reward each of them with an answer to their question. While the townsfolk waited for his return, they grew not only quirky moustaches but they also grew in personality, mind and spirit. Their moustaches were not perfect but in return had given them a sense of humor and acceptance that everyone is different and unique and has imperfections. And, they discovered there no longer was a need to be perfect all the time because deeper mistakes and misdeeds had already been revealed by the magic box. The moustaches helped the townspeople cleanse their souls and learn how to accept and forgive others’ discretions.

Mustaki never returned to Nekgaon. He knew that through the process of growing their moustaches the townsfolk would learn about differences, acceptance and forgiveness. He knew his box would no longer be needed.

This story reminds us that no one is perfect all the time. Everyone makes mistakes. It is best to admit to your mistakes and not keep them buried inside. Think about your mistakes, learn from your mistakes, laugh at your mistakes, and then move on with your life.

This book packs a powerful message in both prose and rhythmic rhyme. The message will be difficult for younger picture book listeners to ascertain but with the reader’s guidance they will grasp the message.


Reviewed by Gwen Schock Cowherd