Monthly Archives: March 2019

The World’s Worst Children 3 #Review

Book Title: The World’s Worst Children 3
Author: David Walliams

Here is a book that’s quintessentially David Walliams. What? Haven’t read Walliams yet? Well then, this is a good place to start.

The World’s Worst Children 3, is the third book (obviously!) in this series of the terriblest children you’re ever going to meet. There are ten short stories about ten terrors. Walliams imbues his protagonists with one troublesome flaw after another, building up their ‘atrocities’ till you’re clamouring for an end. Of course the end comes and in the most traditional, old-fashioned way.

There’s Walter the Wasp with a tongue that spews insults, there’s Hanks Pranks who can’t help but play pranks, there’s Boastful Barnabus who cannot stop boasting and a host of others. They offer a bunch of laughs as they trouble, tease and torment finally meeting their just desserts, leaving a lesson for young readers.

Some stories hit the spot to perfection. For instance there was Honey the Hogger – the tale of a girl who hogs the loo making her brother squirm when he needs to pee. This could have been lifted straight from my home. Oh and Kung Fu Kylie was a bit of a wicked winner, delivering a chop to her Geography teacher for giving her an F. That’s something I’d definitely not propagate, but the appeal to kids is undeniable.

This is the kind of book a child can open at any page and begin to read. Replete with delightful alliterations, it makes for a fun adventure, even though my children are a little over age for it. The illustrations by Tony Ross are gorgeous and the glossy pages add to its good looks.

Walliams picks up Dahl’s formula of strong children as protagonists set off by rather weak adults and takes it forward with élan. As an adult I have enjoyed a few of his books (The Boy in the Dress) while some others I have found over-the-top. I give three stars to this particular collection because it offered some laughs yet had nothing new to offer and not much of a storyline either. Also, I really have to mention, that the first story, The Terrible Triplets, had me gagging. But that’s my point of view as an adult.

As a mom to twins, I do know that children have a whole different reaction to all things gross and are rarely as freaked out as adults. They also seem to revel in repetitions laughing over passages just as hard each time as they had the very first time they read it. For them the book is a winner.

It provided us with a welcome change during the rather stressful exam season.

Last thought: I’ll put this one down as a fun read for children.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Do you care for what people think? #BookBytes – 4

Early this month on Women’s Day I shared a quote from Becoming by Michelle Obama.
Here it is.


What a fantastic read this book is proving to be, full of immense wisdom yet in no way preachy and so very relatable. Today I share another one from the same book. Take a read.

“This may be the fundamental problem with caring a lot about what others think: It can put you on the established path—the my-isn’t-that-impressive path—and keep you there for a long time. Maybe it stops you from swerving, from ever even considering a swerve, because what you risk losing in terms of other people’s high regard can feel too costly.”

Michelle Obama points out a trap a lot of young children fall into, specially girls. They strive to be ‘good girls’, to do what they think is expected of them, to stick to paths that are ‘considered’ impressive, without once looking inward. This is counter-productive on so many levels. They end up their shortchanging themselves, not using their inherent strengths and talents and disregarding their interests, condemning themselves to lives that are in no way fulfilling, simpy to win the approval of others.

If you stumble upon a quote, a line (or two) or even a passage that leaps out at you demanding to be shared do join in with #BookBytes. Here’s what you have to do:

  • Share it on your blog and link back to this latest post.
  • Put in the logo (above) so it’s easy to spot.
  • Leave the link to your blogpost in the comments so I can drop by too.
  • Book Bytes goes live every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month so the next edition is scheduled for April 2nd. Do join in.

The Night Rainbow – A hauntingly beautiful read

Book Title: The Night Rainbow
Author: Claire King

What do you do if you lose your papa in an accident and your maman, pregnant with a baby, moves to a far away place in her head where you cannot reach her? In a place where she cannot abide loud noises, cooks when she feels up to it but mostly keeps to her room?

Well, you take care of yourself the best you can even if you’re just five. You make sure you don’t bother maman, you play in the meadow, splash around in the stream and eat fruits or make yourself a sandwich when you’re hungry. Most of all, you try to find ways to make maman happy because you want her back with all the wanting in your little heart.

That’s the story

..of five and half year old Peony, better known as Pea, her little sister Margot and their mum Joanna. As Joanna loses herself to depression the two little girls are left to their own devices. They spend their days talking and playing. During their wanderings they meet a man, Claude and Merlin his dog, and strike up a friendship. Claude keeps his distance even though he is affectionate and caring but the girls come to look upon him as the father figure they miss so much.

Set in the summer of a small French village, that is the all the plot you’ll find in The Night Rainbow. It isn’t much, so if you’re looking for a story you will be disappointed. Nothing really happens. The narrative has the dull sameness of the  routine of Pea’s days. As you progress through the pages you wait for something to happen. You wait for the market days when Pea gets to go out with her mum as much as she does. You look forward to her interactions with Calude or even the small chance encounters with other village folk.

But here’s the thing, the book draws you in. You step into it and you feel what Pea is feeling. You find yourself grinning when she manages to draw a smile from Joanna, you cringe in the dark with her as she battles her imagined monsters and you want to hold her and hug away her yearning for a real family.

This one isn’t meant to be read for its racy narrative, it is one of those soul-stirring stories whose beauty lies in its slowness. There’s a bit of a revelation towards the end which makes the story even more poignant. And I wonder how I missed it through the book.

Perhaps the book affected me as it did because it spoke in a child’s voice.

Pea was a delightful heroine. Sometimes she seems a trifle old for her age but I forgave her considering she’s had to run her life on her own. I had to try hard to not get judgemental about Joanna. Mothers cannot afford the luxury of withdrawing into themselves when they have a five-year-olds to look out for. My heart broke for Pea as she tries, tries ever so hard to make Joanna happy. Her deep yearning to bring a smile to her maman’s face, for the hugs, the kisses and the cuddles, for the warmth of the old times and her childish attempts towards that are heartbreaking. When she fights the night demons, her loneliness is palpable and yet so strong is her concern for Joanna that she is refuses to wake her up.

There were times where I wanted to shake Joanna out of her depression. If that were even possible. But when I would put away the  judgemental mum in me I’d feel so so sorry for her. To have lost a baby first then your husband, to be far away from your own home, with hostile in-laws, heavily pregnant and all alone – how terrible must that be. She tries. She cooks somedays and smiles too but the sadness weighs too heavily on her leaving her lethargic and uncaring.

Though Pea rarely cries or even complains, her longing is tangible and that is what makes this a sad, haunting, beautiful read. When Shelly said ‘the most beautiful songs were born out of the saddest things’ he could have been talking about The Night Rainbow.

Last thought: It’s definitely worth a read but it’s likely to pull you down into a well of sadness so pick it up with care.

This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on LovelyAudiobooks.info

Books and chai at a brand new cafe

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, nor is the proprietor/owner a friend or even an acquaintance. This here is just the outpouring of a slightly smitten booklover.

One of my most enduring dreams has been to own/run a book cafe. So when I hear of someone opening one I feel a wave of intense envy wash over me. There’s curiosity too. I want to see how close they are to my dream. More than once I’ve visited such places only to be disappointed. All I’ve found is overpriced coffee and one or two sad-looking racks of very predictable books titles, at least this side of town.

Which is why when I found a flyer for a book cafe tucked into my morning newspaper I was only mildly curious. One Saturday, after dropping the kids off for a session at school, my friend and I made our way to check it out since it was a mere five minute drive away.

The shop/cafe/library was still opening when we arrived and books were being carried out by the armloads onto long tables. Little bird hangers swung down at us at the entrance and a sign cheerfully proclaimed ‘Kitabi Chai’.

As we stepped in my only thought was – Damn, she stole my dream! Stupidly enough I realised I’d spoken out aloud right before the owner/proprietor, Geetika Anand. Perhaps she was used to it because all she said was, ‘You can come here and enjoy the books anytime’. We chatted for a while speaking about the trials she was facing as well as the appreciation she had received since the inception of the cafe. It was unbelievable that the place had been around for a good six months and I hadn’t known about it.

The shelves were full of books, obviously! Agatha Christie rubbed shoulders with PG Wodehouse, Coelho had his own cosy nook as did Sidney Sheldon, along with others like Markus Zusak, Paula Hawkins and everyone else we could think of. Archie and Tintin and even Tinkle found a place in this eclectic mix.


What thrilled me the most was that were a host of brand new releases, something my current library lacked. I thumbed through Balli Kaur Jaswal’s Erotic Stories (which has been recommended by every single person who has read it) and looked at it with such longing, rueing my no-book-buying pledge more than ever, that my friend bought it! And now I await my turn to borrow it :-).

One corner housed a tiny cafe. The top item on their Specials of the Day was Elaichi Chai and I would have been completely sold over, had I not been already!

My friend and I ogled and laughed (a bit too much), we read through the bookish posters and quotes on the walls, we fell in love with the quirky odds and ends, we pointed out authors and gushed at the titles and finally settled down on the cushions to gush some more. I got her to pose for me too. We behaved like a bunch of bubbling, giddy-headed, infatuated teenagers suddenly confronted with their common crush.


There are low tables, comfy cushions and bean bags strewn around making the place warm, inviting and trendy all at once. Kitabi Chai is a cafe, book-exchange joint, library and bookstore all rolled into one. I’m so looking forward to the children’s exams to be over so I can go there and just hang.

Click here to read about another gorgeous bookstore, this one in Gurgaon.