The Ghost of Malabar
by Soumya Ayer
Publisher: Harper Children’s (2022)
Wow!!! I found the book quite intriguing. In the beginning I felt the vocabulary is of a higher level considering this is from the children’s section, but today’s generation is different from ours. Slowly the story gets interesting and one cannot keep this book aside till last page. It becomes very engaging, and the writer has done a wonderful job of keeping a grip on the reader till the very end. I loved how Soumya Ayer references historical events that happened in 1502. The massacre of fishermen is a heartbreaking event and taking this reference for a children’s book storyline is commendable.
This book starts with twelve-year-old Edwin seeing Velu in the boat. But Velu is a ghost.The protagonist’s emotions after seeing a ghost felt quite realistic. He tries to avoid him at all costs, but the ghost seems to appear everywhere he goes. The story has many humorous elements because of Velu as only Edwin can see & hear him. His fear turns into irritation as Edwin realizes the ghost is not harmful at all, but problematic. When Velu steals a crown from the museum and keeps it in Edwin’s bag, the plot gets more enthralling. Overall, the character building and development is excellent. The story takes place in Kochi and references Malabar parotta, appam, Madhalam, Puttu, kanji and more to give its readers a true image of the culture. The glossary at the end is a practical detail for younger readers.
This book is illustrated by Isha Nagar. This helps children understand what they are reading, allowing readers to analyze the story. The inclusion of illustrations in this book will certainly help to inspire visual thinking of young minds and increase their comprehension. Kudos for that! Brilliant work in making the story captivating!
There are morals hidden in every chapter”
“Look at these waves, Edwin. They come and go, but still the ocean remains. Just like that even if people in your life come and go the memories remain” is my one of the favorites. Others include- “Appreciate the good times and learn from the challenging ones”, “If you plant beans, you cannot expect peas to sprout”.
This book teaches us how important it is in life to forgive, forget and to move on. It shows how wrong it is to steal and how the truth always comes out if we lie. Rather than giving these lessons orally when a child learns it via story, they remember and can apply it in a better way.
In the book we see Edwin blaming his father for almost everything that has gone wrong in his life. Here the writer wants to tell us how we need to stop blaming others and start taking responsibility for our own actions. It is vital to read such books at an early stage as they play a key role in the person, we are becoming day by day. They keep our interest intact, give us entertainment and teach us crucial life lessons. Books like these motivate children to read more and grow brighter.