The Clever Tailor – Srividhya Venkat, illustrated by Nayantara Surendranath


  The Clever Tailor – Srividhya Venkat, illustrated by Nayantara Surendranath, Karadi Tales, 9788193388907, 2019

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre: Picture

What did you like about the book? I absolutely loved this book on so many levels.

This story takes place in India and is about a well-respected tailor named Rupa-Ram. Everyone agrees that he makes the most beautiful clothes and that he has magic in his fingertips. But instead of being happy, Rupa-Ram is very sad. Even though he is talented he is still very poor and cannot afford to make beautiful clothes for his own family. One day he is invited to a wedding and must wear his old, faded saafa (common head wear for formal occasions). Fortunately, someone offers him a new, beautiful saafa that he wears to the wedding — and everywhere else! Rupa Ram is so happy with his new saafa that he wears it while working, sleeping, meeting with friends, and even on a picnic with his family. Soon his saafa becomes worn and faded, but when he unfolds the material he discovers a new purpose. He made an odhni for his wife. This same piece of fabric gets used and repurposed as a kurta for his son, a gudiya for his daughter, and a gulaab for the entire family. Finally, the material can no longer be used so Rupa-Ram creates a kahaani (story) about this single piece of fabric and the kahaani and be told again and again and will never wear out.

Some words in this story were new to me but illustrations accompany the pictures, so it is easy to see how the fabric has been transformed. The illustrations are bold and colorful and have a real movement to them which really gives the feeling of this single piece of fabric flowing through the family and creating a connection.

Also, the back of the book explains some of the Indian terms and also a little information about how the people of India like to repurpose and pass on items to other generations (for example, a vintage sari becomes baby clothes for a grandchild).

Anything you didn’t like about it?  Nothing.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Perfect for children between the ages of four and seven.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, preschools, daycare centers, anyone that works with children between the ages of four and seven. 

Where would you shelve it? Picture books.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer  Kristin Guay, former youth librarian

Date of review: June 25, 2019

 

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