‘Gugulu: The Little Bear Dares,’ written by Srividhya Lakshmanan and illustrated by Akansha Krishnan, tells us the story of Gugulu. Gigulu is a sloth bear who thinks he is big enough to go to school alone. But his mom and dad think otherwise. They are concerned about him and want to keep him safe from the perils lurking in the jungle. Instead of listening to his parents Gugulu ventures out on his own. Alone, Gugulu finds himself in the middle of every possible dangers. From a purple frog to a macaque to a leopard to a running herd of gaurs. It does not end there he barely manages to escape the deadly clutches of a black panther and a snake. He later returns to his parents with some help from a friendly elephant. He returns home wiser and comforted in the thought that even when he was was alone among the dangers his parents were trying to rescue him all along. Be it the gaurs or the rushing waves his parents are always in sight. The thrill and excitement of being alones wanes and he finds the presence of his parents reassuring.
This holds true for most of the children. Since the time they learn to do things independently they seek freedom from parental control. Not realizing that it is for their own good. It is only later through some lessons and experiences that they come to accept that the presence of parents is more comforting than anything else. Learning to be independent is essential but with it also comes the responsibility to use it judiciously. Young children fail to apply their independence or freedom appropriately. This is where the role of parents as guides is of utmost importance. Through this lovely picture book, author Srividhya has done a fabulous job in rendering this lesson without sounding preachy. In a fun and amusing manner through perils of the jungle she explains how parents are needed to learn to survive and to learn independence and its application.
The story is narrated in rhyming scheme which makes reading all the more fun. The illustrations are alluring and beautiful. They seem to draw you into jungle fever. The author has gone an extra mile and provided brief explanation about each animal that features in the book. This added benefit makes reading all the more appealing. The pictures of all of the animals in the back of the book with brief explanations about them make the story even more appealing. Children will definitely find themselves resonate with Gugulu’s and his desire for freedom from parental control. This book is highly recommended for primary school teachers, librarians and parents. As the book not just imparts an valuable life lesson but also gives information about several animals. A fun and informative read.
I thank the author for providing me with an ARC for an honest book review. This review is my personal view and unbiased towards author.