The Toy Horse
Deepa Agarwal
Ajanta Guhathakurta
age group: 
5+ yrs
Number of pages: 
value education livelihoods
picture book, fiction

Children playing with makeshift toys as their parents sell their wares, is a common sight on the streets of India. How often do people give a thought to these ‘unseen entities’ and wonder what their lives must be like?

Deepa Agarwal is one of those people who stopped to look and wonder, and care deeply enough to write this tender story of a little girl called Rami. Rami’s mother makes toy horses to sell.  Unfortunately Rami is not allowed to play with them. Her mother explains to her; “If you play with them, they will get dirty. If they get dirty, I cannot sell them. If I do not sell them, there will not be enough money buy flour and dal and vegetables to eat.”

This story effectively highlights the daily struggle for survival of families such as Rami’s.

The almost true-to-life illustrations, add to the charm of the story.

However, being somewhat verbose, the story may deter some young readers. All in all, it is a wonderful book to be read aloud by a parent or a teacher and followed by a discussion on the topic.


Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee