Tuesday, 11 April 2017

The Ammuchi Puchi by Sharanya Manivannan and Nerina Canzi

review by Maryom

When Anjali and Aditya were very small they were a little frightened by the ghost stories told by their grandmother, Ammuchi, but as they grew up they came to love them, and join in making tales of their own. When their grandmother dies though, the whole family is left feeling sad, and not even telling her stories can make them feel better. Then something strange and maybe a little magical happens, as if Grandmother Ammuchi has come back to them as one of the ghosts from her stories.

Flicking through the Lantana Publishing catalogue, what first caught my attention about this book were Nerina Canzi's vibrant illustrations - the rich, bright colours and exotic flowers and foliage which leap out from almost every page - but then I saw that behind those attractive pictures was a story trying to make sense of something very hard for a child to understand - the death of a loved family member.

Sharanya Manivannan's words tell of two children, their love of their grandmother and their grief following her death - but suggest a way through that painful time and hold out the possibility that maybe our loved ones are always there watching over us.

Despite the subject matter, this isn't a glum, depressing book - helped no doubt by the enchanting, exuberant pictures, it comes over as joyous and full of life - and, while it will help children come to terms with their feelings of loss, I think it would also be enjoyed as 'just' a story.

The publishers suggest a reading age of 7 to 9, but the bright pictures will appeal to younger children, who could share it with a parent or older sibling.

Publisher - Lantana
genre - children's picture book, 7-9, bereavement

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