Saturday, July 23, 2022

"Gugulu" by Srividhya Lakshmanan & illustrated by Akansha Krishnan--Fiction Review

We’re doing a new first today, Obscurists. Today I’m reviewing a Children’s book by Srividhya Lakshmanan and illustrated by Akansha Krishnan.

Srividhya Lakshmanan & Akansha Krishnan

What I love about this book:

So for this review, I’m eschewing my longer format with its likes and dislikes, analysis, and so on and so forth.

I’m only going to talk about what I liked about this kid’s book marketed for ages 4 through 8. Clearly not my typical demographic, and I don’t have any children, but if I did, I like to think it’s precisely the sort of book I’d read to them before bed.

“Gugulu” appeals to my love of animals because it’s a story about a naughty little sloth bear named Gugulu who really ought to listen to his parents. There is an explicit moral being taught here. Of course, he doesn’t and then finds out that the wild is no place for a baby—anything—to be out in alone.

I watch a lot of nature shows and documentaries, but I didn’t even know what a sloth bear was until I read this little book. Also, I should mention they’re primarily found in India, where I’ve never been. Sloth bears are shaggily cute animals that seem like a virtual no-brainer to be featured as protagonists of a fable. It’s hard to think of an animal more tailored to be a picture book protagonist—if you will excuse the anthropocentric bent of that statement.

But sloth bears aren’t the only animals we’re introduced to in this picture book. We get to see a pleasing number of animals that live in that habitat throughout the story. There is even a key at the end that gives some basic information about each animal.

A minimalist at heart, I found the illustrations to be of a simple and beautiful style which I enjoyed a lot. They’re bright and colorful. They also clearly convey what everything is and pair nicely with the cadence of the story.

Overall, “Gugulu” is a wonderful, albeit brief, experience. 

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