Saturday, June 02, 2007

Magic - Soviet Style!

One of our first posts was on Russian picture books for children. Amit and I both read lots of Russian books growing up; and their images and words are still vibrantly alive in our minds...
My favourite book as a child was called The Rainbow Flower and it's vivid images and story stayed with me for ever - though I'd forgotten its name. Recently, I found it in a raddi shop to my utter delight. And now we've discovered that it's online too! I cannot believe that someone's had the love, the time and the sense of dedication to actually scan and put in the entire story accompanied by the book's beautiful drawings.
The story is simple. Zhenya, a 'good', if absent-minded girl, goes out to buy bread rings. She loses them (notice the dog nibbling at them) but is given a magic rainbow flower by an old woman. The flower can fulfill wishes, but each time it does, you lose a petal. Zhenya's wishes range from the desperate (getting her mom's broken vase fixed) to the slightly foolhardy (getting all the toys of the world - the pic shows lovely, cascading toys being sent back by a horrified Zhenya on the rooftop). But her last wish is the most useful and it gets her that precious commodity, a friend. The illustrations range from the dream-like to the very real. More than anything else, I loved Zhenya's character because she's not the most robust of fiction's kids. She's dreamy, clumsy, a bit unpopular, and a bit greedy. Zhenya was refreshing because I didn't have to aspire to be her; in parts, I was her already! Read the story and see more pics here.
There's more here too.

11 comments:

Space Bar said...

Ah...those Russian books! I think we all gre up on those. (though I don't remember ever reading this one).

Did you also read a book - not Russian - called Sujata and the Elephant? I've been trying to find it in all the CBT publication lists, but can't. Sampurna and I see to be the only ones who have read this one. There's one bit where Sujata tells the elephant to go away, and thoughs he's heart-broken, she resolutely points a finger at him. The elephant's face as he reluctantly turns away is tragic.

:-(

Banno said...

What a beautiful story! And the pictures. Wish I could make a film on it.

SADHANA RAMCHANDER said...

Yes, the 'Rainbow flower' is such a touching book. It is one of my childhood favourites, as also another one called "When daddy was a little boy'. Thanks for talking about it.

SADHANA RAMCHANDER said...

The 'Rainbow flower' is one of my favourite books. It is so touching, and has all the elements that should be there in a good book for children. Another book I used to like very much was, 'When daddy was a little boy'. Thanks for talking about it.

Unmana said...

Hey! I read that too, as a child. Thanks for bringing back the memories. :)

Anamika said...

Gosh, that took me back some 20 years in time!! The book was called Twelve Months, right?

Yes, I think we've all grown up in the Soviet era where Chook aur Gek and other Russian children's stories were the staple diet.

the mad momma said...

i loved that book.. i also recall a weird magazine called Misha or something...

Anonymous said...

The rainbow book was my favoute book when I was a little girl. I told this story to Nanditha (my daughter) and searched in net to find whether i can get a copy of it. That's how i happen to read this blog. I'm happy that i could download at least a soft copy. Thanks Anita & Amit :)...Ambily

dryashkumarjain2000 said...

this is yash jain i also fill very lucky as i also came acrosss thease russian books.but the sadest thing is we dont get these books after brekdown of soviat russia. i wanted to request u all to help me find out CHOOK AUR GEK which is favourite of many of u.even if anyone can arreng photocopy it will be grete favour on me. thanks anita &amit. hope i can travel back to my childhood.

dryashkumarjain2000 said...

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dryashkumarjain2000 said...

hi this is dr yash i also fil very lucky as i grew up reading russsian stories.but these days after breakdownn of soviet russia it is imposssible to find these books.please help me to find favourite of many of u CHOOK AUR GEK.even the photocopy will also do.hope i can travel my childhood back.please anyone do this favour.thanks anita & amit for keeping my hopes alive.