Nikhil and Jay Save the Day, is a perfect book for newly independent readers, who are moving on from picture books. It contains four related stories about five year old Jay and his big brother Nikhil. As with many of Chitra Soundar’s books, the stories have a strong theme of family running through them, with parents and grandparents playing a key role. With a dual heritage family, this book is important to have on your bookshelves, to ensure younger children are able to see diverse families reflected in the stories they read.
Chitra, as always finds a way to make the everyday and mundane seem interesting and readable. In story one, we see Jay desperately wanting to be able to do things that he is still too small to do. Story two tells us of a trip to their grandparent’s house. Jay is consumed with worry, as he has lost Grandad’s story dragon. In story three, we find out about their favourite food -Dhosa. Then finally, in the last story the boys protest to get their local library re-opened.
This book is full of special family moments and offers glimpses into Indian culture too. The emphasis on the family leaves young readers with a warm and comforting feeling of contentment. A glossary at the end, provides explanations for the odd Hindi word that is used. It is perfect for fans of Too Small Tola and the Sona Sharma stories. I would highly recommend it as a read aloud for Year One, to help them get used to listening to stories with less pictures.
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