Thick as Thieves
Ruskin Bond
age group: 
7+ yrs
Number of pages: 
value education nature and wildlife friendship differently abled childhood
realistic fiction



Originating from his childhood experiences, most of them located in the towering Sivalik mountain range, the overarching theme of the book is the bonds of friendship, some lasting for decades and others short-lived, formed by temporary encounters. Friendship that can exist between children, between young and old, between man and beast, between rich and poor, between abled and disabled. They talk about the carefree, halcyon days of childhood, about estranged relationships, about hardship, about pain, about loneliness, but above all, they talk about hope, the joys and the ever-lasting impact of friendship.

In The Crooked Tree, the author whilst walking through a field chances upon Kamal, a young boy who at that moment was having an epileptic fit. He discovers that Kamal, a friendless orphan, was struggling to make a future for himself, by peddling goods during the day and enrolling in a school in the evening. He works diligently at his studies, always trying to squeeze out some time for it everyday. However, as his condition frightens other boys, he has no friends. In spite of his impoverished condition, Kamal is fiercely independent and always looks to the brighter side of life. When he fails his examinations yet again, the author is far more devastated than Kamal, who philosophically comments,"I have plenty of time now (to study) Another year. Yesterday I was sad and tomorrow I may be sad again, but today, I know that I am happy."

In A little Friend Bond befriends a little mouse that was an illegal tenant in the little attic where he lived. He had just arrived in London and knew no one. The friendship, hesitant at first, soon blossoms, so much so the the mouse starts accepting tidbits from his hand. He is lonely in London, and even the sheer presence of another living creature, is very welcome. Sadly, it is soon time to move house. Bond worries for the mouse, in case the new tenant has a cat. But then it dawns on him that, 'Mice don't worry about the future--their own or the world's.'
Scattering some supplies for his little friend, just in case he needs it, he packs his bags and with a heavy heart leaves his little room on the roof realizing that, 'As we journey through life, old friends and new friends are often left behind, never to be met with again.'

A heart-warming book!


Reviewed by Ahan Varkey