My Mother
Jaya Jaitley
Bahadur Chitrakar
age group: 
5+ yrs
Number of pages: 
Pratham Books
West Bengal villages patachitra mothers Kalighat art folk art family
picture book, realistic fiction

A mother is always the focal part in the life of a family. In this simple English-Hindi, bi-lingual book, a little boy recounts all that his mother does right from the first call of the rooster in the early hours of dawn, right until she tucks the children in bed and tells them a story. And even then, her day does not end, she picks up her brush and paints pictures, ‘just as her mother did’...says the narrator. Indicating that nothing much has really changed. Generation after generation of mothers, continue selflessly to nurture and care for their young ones.

Beautifully illustrated in the kalighat patachitra style of folk art from West Bengal, the artist through simple uni-dimensional pictures, filled with vibrant colours, brings to life the life of a rural woman. Meticulous attention to details, the peacocks on the roofs, the patterns on the walls of the hut and the cooking vessels, all go towards enticing a child to look closer and perhaps go over the book again and again, thus not only appreciating the story but also imbibing the visual richness of the art form.

The book works at several levels, firstly, a comforting reassurance of an ever present mother’s love, secondly, the life of a women in the rural areas of India, thirdly, being bi-lingual it allows for understanding of unfamiliar language and best of all, it gives children an opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the rich and vibrant visual language of folk art.

A great offering!

Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee