Once Upon a Moontime
Mamang Dai
Nimret Handa
age group: 
7+ yrs
Number of pages: 
rivers north-east nature and wildlife folktales creation
picture book, fiction


Fantasy, magic and reality all seamlessly mix together to form four unforgettable Indian folk tales that will enthrall little kids with the imagery.

A collection of stories from Arunachal Pradesh on how the moon, land, rivers and mountains came into being. These evergreen stories, passed down from one generation to another must have fascinated children in the days of yore and will continue to do so for a long time.

In the first one, the two brother in the sky decided that there should be human beings on earth. But where would they live, as the entire earth was covered by water?
They sought the help of winds from the four quarters who brought in dust of different hues and then mixed them all up together. Then the brothers patted them by hand, raising some bits higher and digging holes in other areas, thus causing mountains and valleys to be formed.

Another delightful story is about how the Lohit River was born and why it meanders along its course. Helped by crabs and ants and even a wild cat, to facilitate the path of the river, which finally manages to flow unhindered.

Why the dove moans and how the moon came into being form the other two stories.

From the land of the North-East this is a great book about a relatively lesser known part of India for kids, thus providing a special insight into the region, one that is generally out of mainstream purview.



Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee