WRITING STYLE: 4/5
MORAL VALUE: 4/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4/5
“Aunty, wait a minute! I am a girl and I am also brave! Do you want me to prove to you that I am a girl?”
~ Prashansa Meyn, Pushki’s First Train Adventure
You can think of me as a dimwit or perceive me as someone stuck in the past, but all your judgements and notions cannot change the fact that I am still very much in love with children’s fiction.
I recently got a lucky chance to read a children’s book which took me on a trip down the memory lane.
In this review, I tell you all about my most recent tryst with children’s fiction – about author Prashansa Meyn’s debut work Pushki’s First Train Adventure.
Read on to know more about my thoughts on this book.
What to expect?
Expect a book that is meant for children and even for those adult readers who don’t mind relishing children’s fiction every now and then.
Pushki’s First Train Adventure is a treat for the 90s kid as it takes the reader down the memory lane to those days of exciting summer vacations and joyful train rides when vacations simply meant making the annual pilgrimage to the house of one’s maternal grandparents.
The beautiful illustrations
A beautiful illustration of the Madras Central Railway Station in the backdrop of a regular railway station scene graces the cover of the book.
Almost all the illustrations in the book tell us something about how simple life was back in the 1990s.
These illustrations by Revathi Balaji gracefully complement the short and sweet story of Pushki and her first train adventure.
What I did not like?
My only qualm with the book is that it is too short. I would have loved to read about Pushki’s childhood just a little more so that while doing so I could relive my own childhood.
Another thing I wanted more of is the number of illustrations. They are just too gorgeous to be true.
How good are the characters?
Pushki is the central character of the story, with her mother, father, younger sister Rinki and a couple of other fellow travellers as side characters.
As can be easily gauged from the title of the book, the story is about Pushki and she does manage to impress the reader with her calm attitude and quick thinking in the face of adversity.
For a child of 7 years, she is quite composed and mature in her manners and is quite visible in her actions too.
How good is the author’s writing style?
The author writes in a language that is easy and simple. The fact that the book is part-fiction part-autobiographical lends it a personal touch.
I liked the way the author creates such a relatable character in Pushki. The references to local food and culture also give the book an unapologetically Indian touch.
Finally, it is the exclusive vintage vibe which the book gives off that completely charms the reader in me.
Is the climax good?
The climax of the story is an apt one and brings about a satisfying end to the story of Pushki’s train ride but I would have loved it if the journey with Pushki went beyond the train ride and also made the reader partake of the delicious summer vacation adventures that Pushki’s journey would eventually lead her to experience.
Let’s talk about moral values
Like every story written for children, Pushki’s First Train Adventure also has some underlying and rather subtle moral lessons for kids –
(1) never lose calm in the face of a challenge,
(2) always remember the instructions that parents give to you and finally,
(3) don’t let anyone tell you that girls are not as brave as boys.
It all boils down to the entertainment quotient
In the end, the book is a pleasure to read. It is the kind of book that will appeal to both adults (like me) and children.
The vintage charm also works well with a reader and the train ride adventure is almost synonymous with summer vacations that are an integral part of one’s childhood.
It is, in the end, a sweet little story complemented with a bunch of nostalgia-inducing illustrations.
Pick it up if
- You are looking for a children’s read.
- You enjoy short stories and stories with children as protagonists.
- You are looking for books that take you back to your own childhood.
- You are looking for a gift for kids in the age bracket of 5 to 8 years.
Skip it if
- You don’t like fiction meant for children.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Pushki’s First Train Adventure using the link below.