Poetic pen

Tell a Tale

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Homeschooling Activity For Kids - Move Like An Animal

Homeschooling is the in term these days and parents are bound to work on it willingly and unwillingly. For us, it has turned out to a time we do various activities at home (mostly assigned by school only) for fun learning.

 Here, I would be writing about one such activity which looks very simple and just for fun, but has it's own set of educative value.

 All we need for this activity to do is an enthusiastic child, paper and pen/sketch pen/pencil. Here it goes.

1. Cut the paper into small pieces/chits.

2. Draw an animal and write the action to be followed. Below are some samples, but any animal and it’s activity which seems easy to imitate can be written:

a.    Slither like a snake

b.    Chomp like an alligator

c.    Swing like a monkey

d.    Stretch like a Giraff

e.    Roll like a pig

f.    Roar like a lion

g.    Hop like a bunny

h.    Leap like a frog

i.      Chew like a cow,etc

     3. Fold the chits.

 

Child/player will pick one chit then he/she will name the animal and read the sentence (parents can help the learners – this would be needed only once or twice after that they would remember it with animal image). Then child does the action written in the chit Repeat until all animals in the chits are done.

Here is our DIY video for the same. I did the cutting if chits, writing and drawing. The kiddos helped me color the same. Elder siblings can be asked to the parts of cutting, drawing and writing. It would give them a lot of confidence and that sense of responsibility.

Do watch till end to see the enthusiasm and big smiles on kiddos faces. We have the chits saved and it’s a go to game anytime anyday.

 

Child/player will pick one chit then he/she will name the animal and read the sentence (parents can help the learners – this would be needed only once or twice after that they would remember it with animal image). Then child does the action written in the chit Repeat until all animals in the chits are done.

Here is our DIY video for the same. I did the cutting if chits, writing and drawing. The kiddos helped me color the same. Elder siblings can be asked to the parts of cutting, drawing and writing. It would give them a lot of confidence and that sense of responsibility.

Do watch till end to see the enthusiasm and big smiles on kiddos faces. We have the chits saved and it’s a go to game anytime any-day.

This is a simple and fun activity which helps the children develop their listening skills, teaches them to follow instructions and enhances their vocabulary in early years.

Playing this fun game brings a lot of laughter into the house and makes the sibling and friendship bond stronger.

As the children move and jump sound, they get to exercise their tiny bodies.

Do let us know if you decide to try it out. We would love to her out how it went...

Monday, April 27, 2020

Milk Teeth by Amrita Mahale

I saw the "Milk Teeth" by Amrita Mahale at one of the counter on duty free at airport. Like a common citizen, thought of checking the cost at amazon before buying, saw it free on amazon and tapped buy now! Yes, that's how this book entered my Kindle.

Almost all the reviews I read said that it's a true story of Mumbai, of the people of Bombay. Honestly, That put me off initially. But thankfully I kept my hold and went ahead with the reading.

I am not a Mumbaikar. I am a Delihite by birth, education and living. But does that mean I do not relate to most of the book? I mean, there have been communal riots in Delhi also, so dreaded bomb blasts, middle class values, morals, all of it. Mumbai has locals, Delhi has have the blue line and DTC buses I have hanged to the doors of, sandwiched between sweaty people and I I dare say, molested in manners I would not like my parents to know ever. The brutal truth and fact that I and my friends and families have looked for that one sign of religion and faith before boarding an auto-riksha or taking a deep breath realizing later on cannot be denied. I have watched some jungles of Delhi turning into high-rise set of buildings which in turn are a new hub of robbers/crimes of all sorts just as jungles were thanks to the so called privacy of societies and barren roads adjacent to those boundaries. I have watched my own parents grow old in front of myself, saving every penny to pay my school fee, to buy that Maruti 800, to get their daughter married and of-course investing all they had into a brand new structure we call reconstructed home. I have witnessed the moral values of middle class and so called upper middle class families taking flips with every stage of life and it's turns. I have seen love and romances of every form blossoming, getting rotten and many many times pretending to be long forgotten right in front of my eyes and my circle.

So yes, I could relate it all very well with "Milk Teeth" by Amrita Mahale.

The writing style of Amrita Mahale - not too difficult to make one pick a dictionary every now and then, yet not too easy to let it sink in by just skimming through is really appreciated.
I loved the little childhood fights, teenage romance which took and evolved over time and still not making the plot to a love story.
There were a few lines which made way to my notes and thus make a nice re-read.

Is there anything I did not like about the book?
Yes, I hope the writer had managed to keep me hooked right from the beginning. It took me a while and a small push to not turn to skim reading or even worst, quitting in between. Had it been gathered my attention a little earlier, that one star could  have been here.

To make a summary, I can say that Milk Teeth is the story of every Indian born in mid 1980's. The novel very subtly depicts hushed hypocrisy of Indian Middle class families and their morals which are crashing like a piece of glass making them see their own multiple faces. It's not a great story, But it's worth a read and the author Amrita Mahale has been very successful in making a mark with her debut writing.

Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes I would to a friend who is mood for some Indian and not too heavy read.

IF you wish to add Milk Teeth by Amrita Mahale to your bookshelf, visit the links below to purchase the book from Amazon.

        

Note: I may get a small commission if you purchase using them - WITHOUT YOU BEING CHARGED AN EXTRA PENNY.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak

About the Author:
The introduction to Elif Shafak on both her GoodReads profile and own website goes like - "Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist and the most widely read female author in Turkey. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published seventeen books. Elif's work has been translated into fifty languages!"
Head on to the links to let the author speak for her-self.

The Blurb Says:
Peri, a wealthy Turkish housewife, is on her way to a dinner party at a seaside mansion in Istanbul when a beggar snatches her handbag. As she wrestles to get it back, a photograph falls to the ground - an old Polaroid of three young women and their university professor. A relic from a past - and a love - Peri had tried desperately to forget.

The photograph takes Peri back to Oxford University, as an eighteen-year-old sent abroad for the first time: to her dazzling, rebellious professor and his life-changing course on God, to her home with her two best friends, Shirin and Mona and their arguments about Islam and femininity and, finally, to the scandal that tore them all apart

How I felt about "Three Daughters of Eve"
Although I started this book sometime in December 2019, "Three Daughters of Eve" by Elf Shafak turns out to be my first read for the year 2020. This was my first read from Elif Shafak. I did not love the book, but I did like it a lot.



What I liked:
1. Easy Read: The book talk about some sensitive issues like god and politics. Despite of them, it felt like an easy book to read and follow through. Bonus - In case the reader is not too interested in the detailed accounts of these topics, they can be easily skimmed through without really loosing or skipping any event or plot.
2. Seamless Oscillation between two time zones: The story go to and fro between two eras with almost every chapter. The writing style made me wanting to read the current chapter quickly and explore the other era.

What I did not like:
The title itself says that it's a story of three women, but sadly, it revolved around Peri majorly and only touched upon the other three. I would have loved to read more about the 'baby in the mist', three friends and their bonding.


My favorite part of the book was the chapter - "Notebook'. I actually sat down a while and pondered upon it for a few moments before moving forward. These were the pages I would love to read again and again.
Then there was "The Hospital" - which left me angry and shocked. T read it with my eyes wide open and disbelief. Initially I could not decide my emotions! It's just beyond words to express...
Another instance which made me smile was a "Christmas Tree" decorated with Islamic items and devotees. An innocent child did that so that she could make her mother happy about the celebrations from another religion.

Would I refer it to  a friend?
Yes! I can refer it to someone looking for easy and light read with the cautionary warning of a few sections. This was my first read from the author - Elif Shafak and it definitely made me curious enough to read more of her work.



Visit the links below to purchase the book from Amazon. The paperback version is currently under "Amazon Associates Program Excluded Products" which means the affiliate link to the same is not available. But you can always visit the links below and then switch to your desired format :)

     

Note: I may get a small commission if you purchase using the link above - WITHOUT YOU BEING CHARGED AN EXTRA PENNY.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Jenga Blocks Game: How to Play and Benefits


Jenga is a popular game which can be played anywhere any time with minimum 2 players. The standard game set consists a set of 54 wooden blocks. The blocks are stacked in sets of three making the tower eighteen blocks high. Each new layers must be rotated 90 degrees along the horizontal axis from the one below it.

Each player takes turn to remove a single block from the tower placing it back on the top. As a thumb rule, the block must not be removed from lowest and highest level of the tower. The players must only use one hand at a time to remove the block and re-stabilizing any block or tower in the middle of the game is not allowed.
The game continues till the tower falls. The last player to remove and place a block successfully wins the game.

Jenga is a fun game which can be played by any age group. When we play it at home with the kids, we make the rules slightly easier allowing them to use both hands and re-arranging the tower in between

Here is a video where the little munchkins are playing Jenga.




Benefits of playing Jenga:

Improved Decision-Making Skills
The player gets to decide which block to take off ensuring that the tower remains steady. Jenga blocks helps it’s players to decide and reap it’s consequences.

Increased Patience Level
Quick or unplanned move has high chances of making the tower topple. The player must be slow and steady while removing the blocks to maintain the balance. Also, there are high chances that the other player takes off the same block you had your eye on for the next move. But then, you can’t do anything about it except move and make another smart move.

Teaches to Plan Ahead
While the player needs to only work about his or her turn to make a move efficiently enough to keep the tower standing, sub-consciously, the players want their tower to stand tall and high. Also, as mentioned in the point above, while the player is taking it’s turn, next players is already deciding it’s next block to be moved. Thus, planning ahead is a crucial part of Jenga game.

Helps to Balance Hand Eye Coordination
Jenga not only requires to take the block off, making sure that the

Induces Fine Motor Skills
All the capabilities described above when combined and learned together form a strong base for amazing motor skills in both adults and kids.


The market is full of different variations of Jenga with colorful blocks. We have the basic version which can be brought from the link below:


Note: I may get a small commission if you purchase using the link above - WITHOUT YOU BEING CHARGED AN EXTRA PENNY.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia by Jean Sasson


The Blurb:  Saudi Arabian princess clad in riches and hidden behind her black veil, Sultana talks about the dark, hidden secrets she had to live with, in her past and about the living treacheries bestowed upon women in Saudi Arabia.
With no freedom to take her own decisions and known only as a bearer of sons, Sultana is the strong woman at the heart of the story in Princess. From her turbulent childhood to her arranged marriage and later being displaced for another wife, Sultana shares her history of the appalling oppression in her everyday life.
From the marriage of 13-year old girls with men five times their age to the killing of young women by stoning, drowning or isolation in the "women's room," the book tells readers how women are left to rot to death in this land. Sultana opens up about the atrocities committed by the Saudi establishment, standing up for right despite the risk of being killed.
Narrating her story to Jean Sasson, Sultana reveals the darkest secrets beyond the veils of the secret society where money, sex and power reign supreme and violation of human rights is commonplace. 
How did I like the book?

Well, this might be one of the most difficult reviews I have written. Like everyone, it’s the claim of being a true story which attracted me to it. If the title was just - “Story of life behind the veil “, leaving out true and Saudi Arabia, would it have made me pick it up? I would say yes.


This book was recommended by my friend Rajshri and I do not remember her mentioning that it’s a true story while doing so. Moral - I would have liked it the same even if it was not claimed to be true.

While most of the restrictions and practices were already either heard or read somewhere, reading them as an overall subject with surrounding details made my heart wrench. I made sad faces, frowned, gasped in awe at quite a few incidents mentioned in the story. Not because I was surprised or shocked, but because I could relate them to some character.

The author has been able to strike the chord at right places most of the times using easy and simple language.

What I did not like:

Editing - I am not sure the pages, but there were a few sentences I could notice which needed better editing.
Rushed up - There were a few sections which felt very hurried and more detailing could have made them much interesting and gripping.
Have a few more related to Sultana’s reactions - but I am assuming that I might get the answers in next two series. I do not want to state them to avoid spoiler.


It would be hard to mention my favorite chapter of the one which touched me most. After a certain time, I lost noting down much details. The ones I noted, “My sister Sara” made me stop and think for quite some time.

I would recommend anyone to read this book not for my culture or religion, but for the plight of some women in the name of same. This stand true for almost all religions and I am sure every culture has one or other myth or misconception women have or had faced sometime in past.



There are many controversies around the authenticity of story. Many of them answer themselves in further series - still many remains questionable. Read a few reviews, stay away from spoilers- many of them do not even warn of the same, and make your choice. From me, it’s a gripping read.

Would I pick up the other books in series? I would say that I might go for them sometime.

Follow the link below to read my favorite lines:
Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia by Jean Sasson

Also, if you decide to give the book a shot, follow the links from amazon as below:

          

I may get a small commission if you purchase using them - WITHOUT YOU BEING CHARGED AN EXTRA PENNY.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Mr. Majeika and the School caretaker by Humphrey Carpenter

The Blurb:
When old Mr Jenks retires, St Barty's School advertises for a new caretaker. Unfortunately there's only one applicant - Hamish Bigmore's Uncle Wilf who is just as rude and bad-tempered as Hamish. When Mr Majeika is hurt in an accident it becomes clear that Uncle Wilf is working for the wickedest of witches, Wilhelmina Warlock! It's up to Mr Majeika to work his magic and put things right again.

How the kiddo liked the book:
My son got this book from school library and thus he had no escape finishing it. He completed the book in 4 days.

The kiddo loved the book - which he generally does with all. I could see he was enjoying reading it and only things which made him to put it down was that he is still not comfortable with novels. Thus I had to push him a little.

He found the book really funny and kept calling me once in a while to re-read a few sections. His favorite character was the bad guy - 'Hamish Bigmore' because he was really naughty and ofcourse 'Mr. Majeika' because he did magic.

Below is the review in his own words! Do show some love to boost him up...



How I liked the book:
As a parent, if my child likes the book, I like it too. I read it too and actually had a nice laugh ad smiles all through it. It is divide din seven chapters with each chapter making sure to not let the child get bored and put it don without finishing it.

The language is also very simple for children to understand. Also, there were a few pictures here and there which the kiddo was always looking forward to.

The book and other books from Humphery Carpenter can be brought from amazon using below links:


        Link to Mr. Majeika Series


I may get a small commission if you purchase using them - WITHOUT YOU BEING CHARGED AN EXTRA PENNY.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Secret Garden By Frances Hodgson Burnett


Have you ever read a book that is predictable with every chapter and eventually you can predict it page by page, but still – you want to go on an on with it? You never ever want it to finish?

Well, the very famous children classic - “THE SECRET GARDEN BY FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT” is one such book, or at least I found it like that.

It is the story of two 10-year-old children Mary Lennox and Colin Craven living in two opposite parts of world. Both are spoiled to the highest level a child could be raised to. The story begins with Mary and how she finds her way to another part of world, makes friends and eventually, her journey to find Colin. The plot then revolves around these children discovering themselves with life and experiences and the mother nature.


I could go on and on writing more about the novel and it’s blurb, but then I honestly feel that one should really go and read it. I think, anything more written here might serve as a spoiler.


Coming to my reaction to the novel. I have already admitted that it’s one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. The book has so much simple lessons of life in store. The lessons, we all know all through but somehow tend to not acknowledge them. Also, it’s a perfect example of what a child can do to other child and why they must have a company to grow with.


Magic of mother nature, positive attitude, determination and optimism flows all through the book.


Imagine a ten-year-old making another child of same age and same level of tantrum, sleep by singing and talking softly!!!


After reading it, whenever I am asked about a book I found lovable and flawless, my answer would be “The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett until I find another one like it.

Then, there is a chapter which talks about how a bird called robin feels about humans around him. He talks to his wife and it was just hilarious and true at the same time!


I cannot believe myself when I am talking with such positive attitude about a book. I think, I should just stop and leave you with that It’s a gorgeous piece of simple writing where the message, the emotions, the surroundings, everything is described just perfectly.


There were of course many lines and phrases I read and re-read. A few of them, I have put up in the post also. There are total 27 chapters and my personal favorites are "I SHALL LIVE FOREVER—AND EVER—AND EVER!" and “The Curtain”.


Would I recommend it to anyone else? Did you read the whole post? Because if you did, I need not answer it now! Go get it reader! In case you have a kindle unlimited subscription or own a kindle or use the kindle app on any device, guess what? It’s free on Amazon Classics.




If you like my review and plan to give it a shot, you may try that by above link. They point to my Amazon Affiliate and when purchased from, I get a tiny commission with no extra charge to you.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Narasimha (The Mahaavatar Trilogy #1) by Kevin Missal


The Blurb Says:
Narasimha, once a brave soldier, has left the war and lies low as a physician in a village. But a familiar face from his past seeks his help to stop the tyranny of the blind usurper Andhaka. If Narasimha refuses, the world might just end. What will he do? And why did he leave the war in the first place? Prahlad, the interim king of Kashyapuri, is torn between the ideals of his unrighteous father and his love for Lord Vishnu. Whom will he choose? Hiranyakashyap, the ruler of the Asura Empire, wants to avenge the death of his wife. To do that, he must go through the Trials and get the ultimate weapon - the Brahmastra. But the Trials have sent so many others to their death. Can Hiranyakashyap survive?

How Did I Like The Book
"Narasimha (The Mahaavatar Trilogy #1)" was my first read from the author Kevin Missal. I have read many great reviews about his previous writing and has really high expectations since the book had been doing rounds since some time on it's promotions etc.

Now that I have the book in my hands and have read it, did it meet my expectations? I would say yes and no at the same time.
First of all, I really liked the book and can recommend it for a light read to mythology lover.

What I Liked:
1. The chapters: I really liked the way the chapters were named on lead characters instead of trying to give a title to them. This also enabled me to be ready and get back to the story of another character from where I left it. Yes, if looked upon carefully, it's basically a collection of multiple stories interrelated with each other.

2. The Good and The Evil: The author has not depicted any character as a hero or a villain. It's all up to the reader what they interpret out of them and how they perceive their actions. All characters has their own positive traits along with a dark/grey side.

3. The Avatar: Of course the book is about the ultimate avatar but then we have always seen the god or the demon from various popular mythological tales where the God has this illuminating aura around it and flawless, fearless an unbeatable right from the beginning and the reverse when it comes to a demon. As the popular IndianBookTuber said, that the avatar discovers itself rather than just being there and doing his/her job.

What I Did not like:
1. The End: I know I am attracting a lot of raised eyebrows with this, but then  for me if a book suddenly leaves me in the middle of the road waiting for next bus to board until it comes out without a proper conclusion, I don't like it.
The next book might not require the earlier part to be read in order to understand and enjoy it, but then what about the people who did spend their time and energy on the first or the earlier one.

So, yes I liked the book and would have loved it even more if it had that conclusion. Apart from that, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

If you like my review and plan to give it a shot, you may try that by following links. They point to my Amazon Affiliate and when purchased from, I get a tiny commission with no extra charge to you.


    

Monday, July 1, 2019

"The Mind Game" by Devika Das


About The Author:
Devika Das has three books and one anthology under her writing umbrella. When not writing, Devika pursues her passion for Acting and is an active theatre artiste in Hyderabad and has featured in several short films. Read more about her at – Devika Das


The Blurb Says:
“Happiness, stress, ecstasy or depression, it’s all a mind game. As long as our mind is under our control, everything else is. That’s what The Mind Game is all about. It is not an average self-help book that preaches life-enhancing methodologies based on complex science or long philosophical verses. The book’s genius lies in its simplicity. It offers quick, actionable and instantly applicable tips that will help readers lead better lives, instantly.”


How did I find the book:
Generally, self-help books very clearly focus on either Formal or In-formal aspects. "The Mind Game" talked about less talked about topics when it comes to soft skills and managed to touch upon their effects on formal or professional lives as-well.

As the title of book mentions, it’s all about what goes in a human mind – biologically or straight from the heart. I liked the book when I started it, then I felt a little bored and had to push a little further. Then, I realized that it’s not a book to be sit down, read and finish. The reader needs a little me time and lot of thought gathering in order to get it through successfully.

What I Liked:
1. Structured: Well  yes, the book is clearly divided in six sections which goes as below and each section is further explained with multiple chapters. Another remarkable thing with this point is that that I found all sections an independent read. So tomorrow if I want to read about any particular area, I might just go back and pick it up.
            SECTION A - Mastering your emotions
            SECTION B - Simple living High Thinking
            SECTION C - Analyzing People
            SECTION D - Secret of true happiness
            SECTION E - Manage your anger creatively
            SECTION F - A happy workplace the secret to a long, successful career.

2. Less Preaching: Whatever less number of self-help books I have read, preaching is one I get to put it down very quickly. The author did a balanced nob while taking up the topics by trying to get to the point from the beginning ang not just give the try this and do that points back to back. Thus, if read with devoted time, the reader would get the psychological and medical reasons which lay at the back of common issues.

What I did not like:
1. Stories: There were a few little examples here and there, but I missed reading more. I had a major missing feeling of real-life stories and experiences all through the book. It would have been an all-together different and more refreshing read with them. The one's which did came along, unfortunately, there is none I had not read about or seen a video about.

To wrap up my thoughts, I would say that it was an average one time read which could have been much better If i had a few examples to talk about in my daily conversations like- "You know, I read a story about this in a book which said....".

Please do share your views on the book, review or anything by commenting below. I absolutely love each and every comment I receive.

If you like my review and plan to give it a shot, you may try that by following links. They point to my Amazon Affiliate and when purchased from, I get a tiny commission with no extra charge to you.





Friday, June 14, 2019

Tarikshir: The Awakening by Khayaal Patel


The Blurb:
A small princely state in Rajasthan is the last bastion of resistance against the might of the British Empire. While unrest surrounding the sudden death of the king of Devangarh grows, young prince Rudra Pratap Chauhan prepares to ascend the throne.

But the kingdom is in turmoil. The Devangarh army is outnumbered and the British forces are closing in. To make matters worse, Rudra discovers the king’s death may not have been accidental after all. The strange appearance and disappearance of a mysterious hooded stranger and a series of ritualistic murders in which the bodies have been drained of blood, spread panic across the realm.

As Rudra struggles to manage his new responsibilities and investigate his father’s death, dark secrets will be uncovered that will disrupt life as he knows it.


The Book:
The moment my kiddo looked at the cover, he asked me if I was reading a ghost story. I smiled and told him that yes it's kind of that. He innocently told me not to read it before bed or I would have nightmares. Believe me, I gave it a thought as I read the first few pages.

The book along with mysterious creatures has a little of British rulers and the Rajput’s. There is one section where the characters discuss about Bharat being ruled by individual kings in different regions and the Englishmen being just British. I honestly think that this was the major reason of our country - despite being filled with brave and smart rulers, was ruled by someone else. They got it right - divide and rule. And they did it for over a century. So, there are a few learning here and there in the book about Good VS evil and a little history of India.

I Liked:
1. The Beginning: The prologue is so well written and truly sets the mood of reader. The very first pages was the reason I built up high expectations from the book.
2. Fantasy told simple: The language and flow of writing is very simple and can be easily understood by new readers as well.

I did not like:
1. Slow Pace: While the prologue set high expectations, I was disappointed from the first half of the book. Initially I kept my patience and waited for the actual plot to take shape, but then, half of the book had passed!
2. Confusing: While nothing much happened in the first half, the second half had too many revelations and back to back unfolding of various mysteries. For me, at many times, there was too much to divulge into and I lost track or to say it better, not able to grasp it all a few times - specially the end.

I enjoyed reading about the mythological era - and I do not care to find out if its perfection or true as per mythology. The last chapter was icing on cake - I was laughing and I am not sure if I found it funny or amusing, but yes, I liked that part.

At the end, I had mixed feelings towards the book. I liked it and at the same time, I did not like it enough. So, for me, it was an average read.


The book is available at amazon from below links: