The Smile of Vanuvati
Nomita Khatri
age group: 
9+ yrs
Number of pages: 
fiction, mystery

History is generally considered boring by kids and archaeology even more so. I mean, why would any sane kid want to read about mud bricks and excavations of a civilisation that existed several centuries ago?

Srinivasan turns all those arguments around by this delightful mystery set around the excavations at Lothal in Gujarat. A story that is not only entertaining but also informative.

The story traces Vanuvati, a mysterious doll with an enigmatic smile that has passed through many hands over several centuries and now finally, is found at an archeology dig site. But all is not well. Some one is after a treasure believed to be buried there. Three intrepid young children Vittal, Malavika and Chikka along with their newfound friend – Bholu the camel boy, decide to intervene and save the national treasure.

As the story moves forward one learns not only about how a once vibrant port has disappeared but also the methodology followed by scientists as they excavate sites of historical importance.

What an interesting way to excite children about archaeology!

Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee