Author & Illustrator: Ashok Rajagopalan
Theme: Humour, Animals, Village
Picture books on animals, especially elephants, are mostly loved and enjoyed by all young kids. That holds for this adorable elephant series by Ashok Rajagopalan! It is a funny story of a gentle elephant who gets drenched in the rain and catches a cold. Gajapati Kulapati has a big nose, and his sneezes are so enormous that they mess up the daily activities of his village friends. Is there something the villagers can do to ensure he doesn’t catch a cold again? Well, we need to read the book to find out.
The illustrations by Ashok Rajagopalan are engaging and amusing for a young child. The attractive pictures of Gajapati Kulapati and his friends make this book a page-turner. Young children love to look through the pages and make the “Aaaaachhhhoooo” sound whenever it appears in a large handwritten font. All the pictures are well-structured and add to the flow of the story. Gajapati Kulapati is a lovely book with funny sounds and gorgeous illustrations that young toddlers don’t seem to get enough of.
My memories of this book:
The Gajapati Kulapati series has been my son’s favourite Read-Aloud book. I remember reading this book to kids (in my Montessori classroom in Singapore), and they would roll over with squeals of laughter. There were times when the book was recited aloud to a group of children, and everyone made the “Aaaaachhhhoooo” sounds together. This book was so popular that children who did not understand Hindi would request, out of interest, to read the Hindi Version of this story.
What did I like about this book?
It is a great book to read to young children. The vocabulary is suitable for children of all ages. The simplicity of the text, along with lovely pictures of the village, allows children to enjoy the book independently. It even has some comparative adjectives like loud, louder, big and small and some similes like “as fast as” to which little children can easily relate.
The prominent feature of this book is its Sound language which keeps the kids amused. Lots of sounds are used to describe events, feelings, and actions. For instance, sounds like ‘Mmmmmm’ to depict an elephant’s way of eating, ‘Hoooosh’ for the sound of bananas flying in the air, and ‘Pachaak’ for bananas falling on villagers. No doubt that with repetitive sounds and words, this story puts life back into storytelling and read-aloud sessions.
In addition to the above, there are plenty of characters in the story that young children can identify with. The characters like the banana-seller, farmer, flower-seller, postman, and the wise old woman help the children relate to the village scene effortlessly. In conclusion, Gajapati Kulapati is an enjoyable read and a 'Must Have' addition to a pre-schooler’s reading shelf.