English / India

Vanamala and the cephalopod

Srinivasan, Shalini (text)
Simon, Sebin (illus.)
Chennai: Duckbill Books, 2014. – 182 p.
ISBN 978-93-83331-09-3

Siblings | Kidnapping | Mythical creature | Underwater world | Good / Evil | Quest |
Fantasy novel

Duckbill is a small publishing house started in 2012 by popular author Anushka Ravishankar and experienced editor Sayoni Basu. Their aim is to provide thought-provoking, curious, and joyful books for children and teenagers from whimsical historymysteries and wacky space adventures to thrillingly realistic teenage novels.

Shalini Srinivasan’s debut novel ≫Vanamala and the Cephalopod≪ is wellsuited for this list. It is brimming with imaginative elements, quirky characters, and unexpected twists and is adorned with witty illustrations. The book features a young girl who feels guilty for offering her annoying younger sister for sale – who was she to know that a gigantic sea creature would actually snatch at this offer? She tries to get her sibling back from the underwater world with the help of the mythical Basavana. Woven into the main story are several pseudo fables providing conflicting explanations for the genealogy of the evil Cephalopod. A fun read for young and old alike. (Age: 8+)