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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Just right for kids

A brave Roman soldier searches for a precious seal; a little girl wants a puppy but gets goldfish; and a ballerina steps into an enchanted world.

Written by Sharon Fernandes |
May 28, 2011 1:29:57 am

Rosemary Sutcliff,a British writer,wrote lovely adventure stories for children in the 1950s. There were tales of King Arthur and Robin Hood. She also wrote books like The Eagle of the Ninth (Puffin,Rs 250) that were set in Britain when it was invaded by the Roman Empire. Now a movie,The Eagle,based on the book has come out. And the book,which was so loved by children many decades ago,is also back in bookstores.

It takes you to 117 AD when Roman Commander Flavius Aquila leads 5,000 soldiers of the Ninth Legion to deal with an uprising of Scottish tribesmen. But Aquila and all his men disappear without a trace. The Eagle of the Ninth Legion,a cherished military seal that Aquila carried with him,is also gone. Twenty years later,a young Roman soldier called Marcus comes to Britain to find out what happened to the lost legion. He also wants to regain the reputation of his father,Aquila,by finding the eagle seal. In a plot that moves along vigorously,Marcus finds out that the Ninth Legion was killed by Epidaii,a tribe in Western Scotland. The only way he can get the eagle standard is by stealing it from the warrior tribe. This action-packed book was written in 1954,but it still packs a punch with its heady mix of history and action.

For those between 14 and 16 years.

Okay,now,what would you do if you wanted a dog as a pet but got fish instead? Would you want it to bark? Lick your face maybe? In the book At Least a Fish (Scholastic,Rs 99),Ana has three goldfish in a bowl. But she wishes she had a cute puppy instead. Anyway,Ana and her best friend Zain decide to feed the fish some “interesting” food. On the way,they nearly drown in a filthy pond and find a “dragon” living in a murky pool. Ana’s fish go “mbmmbmbmggllb” and look hungry all the time. She calls her “not-so-dumb” fish Socrates,Plato and Aristotle. But she still wants a puppy. Finally she meets Buddhu,a homeless pup. But how strange,Buddhu likes to eat fish food and “swims” on the floor. Ana is stunned. Buddhu is a dog who thinks he is a fish. The fun never stops in this book by Anushka Ravishankar. And there are beautiful illustrations of wide eyes,smiles and fish bubbles.

For those between 6 and 10 years.

Come to Madame Za-Za’s ballet class with its girls who love to twirl on their toes and dance. In Magic Ballerina: Delphie and the Magic Spell (HarperCollins,Rs 99) by Darcey Bussell,Delphie has just got a pair of new shoes. These are no ordinary shoes,but magical ones that “sparkle and glow” in the night. And when she puts them on,she enters the magical world of Enchantia. There she goes to the castle of King Tristan and Queen Isabella. She also meets Princess Aurelia who becomes her new best friend. But Aurelia is in trouble. The evil King Rat has put a spell over Enchantia to make it “winter all the time” until and unless he can marry the beautiful Aurelia. Can Delphie stop King Rat from marrying Princess Aurelia? Will she be able to fool King Rat and his mouse guards with the help of her other new friend,Priscilla the toad?

For children between 5 and 7 years.

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