Juanita Beach, Washington

Pictures from visit to Juanita Beach, WA. Planning to chronicle all the lovely places we visit. Hopefully Ana will grow up , see this post and remember these places.  
Ana enjoyed the beach a lot.  She loved walking on the broad walk and the quacking ducks. We found it too crowded .   

Book 6 : Poorly Pingu and Pigu’s bouncy fun

Book name : Poorly Pingu and Pingu’s Bouncy Fun combo

synopsis : Pingu is making mother very cross by bouncing on everything in the igloo, including Pinga’s rabbit! Then father comes up with an idea!

Our views :

Oh what joy this little cracker of a character is! I have seen the series on TV many many years ago , and  have thoroughly enjoyed watching the antics of Pingu, the penguin. When I saw this book in the library I had to pick it up. This book is by far the most-loved book in our household. Even after returning the book back , Beanie demands that I read this book to her. Alas! the books are out-of-print in India. The first is the story of how Pingu bounces on every single object at home and creates mayhem. Daddy and little Pingu come up with a great idea to harness Pingu’s ‘bouncy- energy’! Any three-year old would love the idea of a penguin bouncing on every available surface ! But  I really wonder why I loved it so much 🙂

 In the second story, Pinga  the sister gets a fancy sticker from the nurse because she is sick, but Pingu wants one too. What will the little bugger do to get one for himself? This one was just pure awesome. I am rediscovering my childhood with the lovely books.  I would have totally done what Pingu did in Poorly Pingu when I was a child. Beanie loved poorly Pingu over Bouncy fun too, which struck me . At Beanie’s age , one doesn’t come up with ideas for faking illnesses ,but I guess kids these days are exposed to concepts that are more complex than I had to handle back when I was her age.On the one hand I am happy that she can comprehend things that are years ahead of her age, I am sad that she is growing up faster than I want her to! I am already pulling up her baby pictures and marveling at how ‘little’ she was a few years back. All signs of a nostalgia-stricken mother 😦 I am wondering what a wreck i’ll be when she gets married.

Anyway.. verdict

Beanie:  “Once more!”
Bedazzled : “I want that book in my collection!!!!!!!!!!”


Book 5 : Dora’s Storytime collection

Book name : Dora’s Storytime Collection

Synopsis (from Goodreads )

Dora and her best friend, Boots, go on more adventures than you can count. Now Dora fans can enjoy many of their favorite Dora stories all in one book! This best-selling collection includes:

Dora’s Backpack
Little Star
Happy Birthday, Mami!
Meet Diego!
Dora Saves the Prince
Dora’s Treasure Hunt
Good Night, Dora!

We we thought: 
Beanie is a big big fan of Dora. She loves watching the Dora shows on TV and I must admit that I have found them adorable at times as well. She started jumping around when she spotted this really worn and misused book at the library. Now who is to argue with a three-year-old with an iron will? 
I was pleasantly surprised at how engaging the book really was. All stories are constructed like tasks where Dora needs to follow three steps for getting a goal accomplished. I have seen this format on TV on another show – the Mickey Mouse Club , but  have never encountered it in a book. All stories were loads of fun and involved some form of counting. I am not sure this series will appeal to her six month down the line now that she can count upto thirteen. The best story was the one that had them counting in Spanish! With a little prodding , Beanie can count upto six in Spanish now . I learnt a lot of Spanish words – like Vamanos (that means let’s go!).  I have realized that she has a flair for languages. We were at a restaurant eating, when she suddenly quipped ,”Excellente!” Both hubby and I couldn’t stop laughing. Sometimes she says hola when she is meeting someone new.Thanks to Dora, she now acts like some precious little European princess and uses a lot of these words she learnt in her everyday conversations.  We have read the book three times in the last ten days That’s how much she likes it ! 
 She keeps repeating the word ‘Quatros’ and breaks into peals of laughter every time I say it the way she wants me to. It was almost like a new ‘Ickky word’ that kids this age love laughing to (for the uninitiated the Ickky word is  stuff like burp or it’s more offensive cousin ;)) By the way , this is more like the 20th book we’ve read for this challenge. Lots of books remain to be written about ! We picked up a few basic books from Pratham and LLLOOOOVVEED it . We also went second-hand book shopping and we(more like I) got overboard by picking up 30 odd books. There were a few copies of books on nursery rhymes and fables from the 70’s in the bunch! Will share the pics some other time 🙂 
 I  know I am not a Parent-zilla , but sometimes I wonder if I am thrusting my unfulfilled ambitions on her. It’s just that I realise that 90% of a child’s potential is realised by the age of nine and I want to make sure that she is not lacking  in any opportunities.The thing with my generation was that we weren’t exposed to so many things and didnt miss anything because we were just blissfully unaware. Playing outdoors sufficed.Things werent so cut-throat back then. Kids were still kids. Things are so much more different now. There is so much more pressure on these kids to ‘learn stuff’ and do well. I see so many career-mamas who are hell-bent on making sure that their child goes to every single class available on earth. Which is why the activity classes of the world are flourishing.  Poor things, these kids are! 
Anyway, back to the book. Overall a slightly formulaic volume, but extremely enjoyable for both the parent and the child. Great for early learners who are just mastering counting skills.  
Verdict : 
Bedazzled: “Vamanos!” 
Beanie : Can we read it again , Amma? 

Book 4 : Charlie and Lola series’s My Best Friend

What’s the book about : (thank you Goodreads)

Lola and Lotta are best, best, BESTEST friends who do completely everything together. They always pair up, they look after the tadpoles in the pond, and they especially always swap lunches. But when Evie, a new girl, joins the class, suddenly it’s Evie whom Lotta does everything with, even lunch swapping. Lola tells her brother Charlie that she has lost her best friend forever, but Charlie isn’t so sure.

The always lively Lola is front-and-center in the latest escapade of the duo made popular by their successful Playhouse Disney show. Charlie and Lola’s unique style will charm existing fans and attract new readers to this especially likable series. 

Our thoughts..
 I am not sure children can fully comprehend the dynamics of friendship at the age of three , but this book did seem like a wonderful way to introduce ‘the arrival of a new friend affecting your best friend’s behavior’. I think such existential agnst is part of a much older kid’s school life ( maybe a 6-7 year old?).  Beanie calls all her classmates / people whom she has had a five-minute conversation with / kids  that she has met randomly in some park her friends , and I don’t think she really understands what it means for a new girl to ensnare (!!) your best friend. This book , however does a good job of illustrating that scenario.
That said, she loved the book and I think the cute-as-a-button illustrations played an important part in her loving the book as much as she did. This was a borrowed book , so it had to make an untimely exit from our home, but we still read it two-three times before we returned the book out.  The illustrations are so darn cute that you want to scoop them off the page and gobble them all up!  This is by far the most fun layout I have come across in a picture book , with three panels in a single page. I am not sure whether this was done to reduce the number of pages or if this was imitating the TV show that is based on the book. The illustrations are imaginative( especially the bit where the kids Lola and Lotta are shown as fishes themselves when they peep into the fish pond to look at the tadpoles).  The sentences are short, clean and crisp , so an early reader can easily navigate through the story without too much confusion.  For kids that have not yet started reading , the illustrations will definitely be a hook. I am so in love with the main characters Lola , Lotta and Charlie that I am going to show Beanie some of the TV episodes. Next on the agenda is to find out if stuff  watched on TV have the same impact on her as the ones I read out to her. 
I am so glad I took up this challenge for myself. I am rediscovering the joys of being a child 🙂 
Overall , an awesome fun read with great illustrations 

OUr Verdict
Bedazzled : OMG, way too cute
Beanie : Amma, can we read this book again? 

Books 3 : Now you see me

Book name : Now you See me
Author : Tish Rabe
Illustrated by : Christopher Moroney

What is the book all about (taken from Goodreads)

Hide-and-seek is a great game, but Nick always finds where Sally is hiding. And that’s no fun! Enter the Cat in the Hat. His friend Gecko is an expert at hiding. Maybe Gecko can share some tips with the kids? So off they go to the jungle, where Gecko teaches them how to hide in plain sight—using camouflage! Kids won’t be able to hide their delight in this rhymed Step 2,Step into Reading book based on an episode from the new PBS Kids television show The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! (Step 2 is for children who recognize familiar words and sound out new words with aural and visual cues. Step 2 titles have simple stories, basic vocabulary, and short sentences.) (less)

Our thoughts

I never read Dr. Seuss books when I was a child , and had always wondered what the fuss was all about. I am not sure if this is part of the original Dr Seuss books , but it  has a lovely cover with ‘The Cat’, which made me pick  it up at the library . This book is supposedly for  level 2  readers( those who can recognize familiar sounds and words), but I don’t really believe in the theory that kids must be exposed to books that are prescribed for their age. I plan on reading out random books to Beanie , just to expose her to stuff that are available.  It is upto her to like or dislike stuff and make her own opinions. If she understands what I read out , great. If she doesn’t, no sweat. Someday she will.  I didn’t know a think about Wodehouse when I started reading his books in my tenth standard holidays, but till date Wodehouse is one of my favourite. I wouldn’t have discovered a great writer if I had thought about age-appropriateness and stayed away from that book.  Anyway reading this book to Beanie was just an experiment to see if she could understand books with slightly complicated concepts.

 Both of us enjoyed the book (Me more than her, I guess)  and we are sure this is just the beginning of our journey into other ‘Cat in the Hat’ books’. The book is rather adorable and starts of with Sally and Nick starting their vacation. They play a game of hide-and-seek  , in which Nick has to find Sally.As expected, Nick is able to spot Sally out in a minute. In comes The Cat and tells them all about ‘CAMOUFLAGE’.  Beanie didn’t know the word ,but kept repeating it over and over again. Some words are lovely like that, no?

The Cat takes the duo into the jungle to meet Gecko to teach them all about Camouflage and hiding. I thought that the concept was rather clever , and would definitely work with slightly older kids. For some reason , Beanie couldn’t correlate the connection between the Gecko hiding and the kids playing hide-and-seek. I am sure this would be a great book for a four or a five year old.

Illustrations are  bright and lovely. I am sure there is some back story to why The Cat is in black and white, whereas other characters are in colour. I also loved the lyrical quality of the words that seemed just apt and not trite( I have read books where  really stupid-sounding sentences are strung up just for the sake of rhyming with the previous sentence!).  Beanie can’t appreciate rhyming stuff yet. She loves action words ,though. Also , I have noticed that she likes books that have girls as main characters rather than the ones with boys ( case in point is the Barbie series, which also happens to be her favorite.) I am just hoping that she will grow out of her pink-princess-Barbie fixation soon 🙂

 Overall , a lovely read with a super concept.

Image Courtesy Apple 

Our Verdict:

Bedazzled : High five! Will definitely read the book again to beanie when she is a little older.



Book 2 Bookathon ; My Mother’s Sari by Sandhya Rao and Nina Sabnani

So I thought I would regularly blog for the next fifty days , but couldn’t! When school’s out , it is practically impossible to find time to pen thoughts down. So I am going to try to be as regular as possible. We’ve read more than a book a day , but none of them stood out and spoke to us :). Which is why I have decided to only chronicle the books that we enjoyed, and not everything that we picked up.  
Today’s pick is a lovely book that is also one of my daughter’s favourite.

Book name : My mother’s Sari
Writer and Illustrator : Sandhya Rao and Nina Sabnani
Appropriate for age : 2+

What the book is about :

One long stretch of cloth is what Mother always wears–“elegant yet so graceful. The mystery of the sari can be magic for a child, winding and weaving, just like the connection between a child and its mother. The style, the motifs, the interplay of children, colors, and textures, create the rich, mood-filled, and dreamy world of
Our thoughts 
This is one of the earliest books that Beanie started liking. The book starts with pictures of a lil girl  telling us how a saree is wrapped.  The sentences are simple and short. Perfect for young readers starting out or also for read aloud with your babies. For the longest time , Beanie couldn’t relate to the fact that moms wore sarees and  thought that  the book was talking about her grand mom’s saree. Now, she is big enough to understand that mom could wear a saree if she wanted to 🙂 The story line is pretty simple- a child pictures a saree imaginatively as a lot of things – like a sling , slide, a river and many more.  The child in the illustrations is cute and looks impish , but I am not a great fan of the artwork as it seemed a little too amateurish for me. No complaints from Beanie.
The best part of the book for me was the different ways that a saree can be used.  Another important aspect is the ‘Indian-ness’ of the book. Tulika and Karadi are doing a fab job by coming up with books that are extremely Indian in their content.  It does help that it is a hard bound book , as toddlers have a way of putting a book through a lot of wear and tear 🙂  
Bedazzled : “Sweet lil’ book that reminded me of my mother’s saree :)” 
Beanie : “I want to wear a saree, ma!”

Handa’s surprise by Eileen Browne

The fifty-days Bookathon project.

 We ( Beanie , the daughter and I )are planning to read a book a day and blog about it for the next fifty days. Beanie  is three and can’t read yet , so I read to her. But I suspect she can identify clusters of words that she keeps seeing regularly. I thought I would be a Momazilla, but I have discovered that I not too demanding  . I just want her to learn at her pace. But increasingly I find that I need to do more research to keep her engaged as she is an extremely inquisitive kid . Hence this project.  This  book is an old favorite, but  I thought  that it would be the perfect book to  blog about and review this old ‘khandar’:) .  I will also be posting all the crafty stuff Beanie and I are going to indulge ourselves in as  a way to chronicle her milestones. Beanie  is a total DIY mini crafter and loves  activities that involve pasting and  cutting. And I am one happy mommy 🙂

Here is an attempt to document all the books that the daughter, Beanie and I enjoy reading together.

Book name : Handa’s surprise

Author : Eileen Browne

Book source : owned


Handa puts seven delicious fruits in a basket to take to her friend, Akeyo. But as she walks, carrying the basket on her head, various creatures steal her fruits. A monkey takes the banana, an ostrich the guava, a zebra the orange, an elephant the mango, a giraffe the pineapple, an antelope the avocado and a parrot the passion fruit. Handa walks on, wondering which of the fruits her friend will like best, oblivious to the fact that her basket is now empty. But then, behind her, a goat charges into a tangerine tree and fills Handa’s basket with the fruit. “Hello, Akeyo,” she greets her friend. “I’ve brought you a surprise.” But when she lifts off her basket, it’s Handa who gets the biggest surprise. Akeyo, meanwhile, is delighted, because tangerines are her favourite fruit! Eileen Browne also created “Through My Window” which was shortlisted for the Smarties Book Prize (1986), “No Problem”, “Tick Tock” and “Where’s my Bus?”.

Our thoughts 

I loved the simple prose that went along with the vibrant and beautiful illustrations. Simply breathtaking brush strokes that brings the African Savanah alive! The surprise element at the end is rather cute too. Needless to say , Beanie loved this book to bits, as she does anything that has vibrant illustrations in it . The words are easy and the flow is amazing. Great way to introduce them to fruits and animal that are found in Africa.The story-line is engaging so that 3 year olds can easily follow it. There were a few fruits that Beanie didn’t know from the list initially  (like the tangerine and avacado) , but now she knows the book almost by-heart.  I introduced her to this book almost a year back when she was more keen looking at the pictures and pointing at the animals. Now , she is  interested in ‘what happens next’ and the ‘story element’ .  There are lots of activities that can be planned around this book . 

Verdict : 
Bedazzled : ‘What a bloody brilliant book!’ 
Beanie : ‘Amma, I love it!’
Perfect for : 3-4 year olds 
A soaring Hi-five 🙂 

Chai Pe Bulaiya : Poet Kuhoo gupta

      Today on Chai Pe Bulaiya we have a poet Kuhoo Gupta, who is the author of Zindagi Ke Martbaan se.
     Zindagi Ke Martbaan Se is a poetry collection written in conversational language – Hindi mixed with Urdu and English. The poems are inspired by a plethora of topics like love, nostalgia, remembrance, random human emotions, natural beauty and spirituality. It is something everybody will be able to relate to because it is inspired from the jar called LIFE that everyone goes through. It is something that will make you cry, smile or just appreciate in your leisure moments. Kuhoo is a singer, a song-writer and a poet. She was among the top  sixteen contestants in Zee Sa Re Ga Ma paa in 2003.  
    Interesting right?  I found her short poems lovely. My Hindi is pretty patchy , but Kuhoo’s metaphors and words are so lovely that I didn’t have much trouble understanding the thoughts that she has expressed so beautifully! Let’s get to know here more..

      Tell us a little bit about yourself. Also include some pet peeves, crazy/fun stuff about yourself ..
Born to my wonderful parents, my childhood could not have been better. Being good in studies pretty much ensured that I got a formal engineering education. Being good in bathroom singing encouraged me to get some formal education in Hindustani classical vocals as well. After getting M.Tech degree in Computer Science & Engineering from IIT Bombay and working in the IT corporate sector for 8 years, I realized I have enough poems in my rugged jholaa to get a book published!
      Tell us about your book
It is a poetry compilation in conversational language – Hindi mixed with Urdu and English – titled “Zindagi Ke Martbaan Se – Poetic Reflections From The Jar Of LIFE”. The poems are inspired by a plethora of topics like love, nostalgia, remembrance, random human emotions, natural beauty and spirituality. It is something that will make you cry, smile or just appreciate in your leisure moments.
3      What inspired you to become a poet?
      They say you need to let go things, you need to be aware of your surroundings, you should understand your inner feelings, essentially catharsis. And writing poems was & is cathartic for me.
I     Are your poems based on anyone in your real life?
All the poems in my book are somehow or the other based on my life experiences. Some experiences have been expressed as is, and in some of them, I have taken the creative liberty & poetic license to exaggerate & dramatize a bit. But nevertheless none of them sound unrealistic as such J

5.      Who are some of your favorite poets?
It’s the GULZAR!
6.     What are the best and the worst part about being an writer?
The best part is you are venting out your emotions on to the paper, not many in this world have this blessing. To articulate is a blessing indeed. The worst part is actually getting a book published. It is a laborious process, as we all know.
     Tell us about your writing / editing process. When do you normally write? Any lucky charms that you believe make you write better? 😉  
My writing process is very ad hoc. I do not have any designated time for writing. When some thought occurs to me that has a potential of expanding it to 3-4 words, I start jotting it down, and most of the times, it converts into a decent length poem. It could occur to me when I am walking, swimming, reading, driving, traveling etc. I jot it down in my mobile or on paper, whatever is near me. Naah, no lucky charms for writing better 😛

8.       How do you unwind after a rigorous writing session?
 Writing in itself is unwinding & satisfying for me. Rather it  is an activity that I fit into my otherwise rigorous schedule.
9.       How did you feel when you received the author’s copy to your first book?
 Oh, absolutely awesome & overwhelmed. I was actually choked with emotions. I kept on staring at the author copy & was literally jumping with joy!
      What pointers would you like to give to aspiring authors/ poets? How easy or difficult was getting published for you?
Mine is a self published book. I did not have to go behind traditional publishers to evaluate the manuscript & then wait for their responses. Though there was a good learning curve in self publishing as well. There are a lot of avenues for self publishing these days, you just have to keep your eyes open & research a bit. Apart from quality content, it is necessary to package the book in a handsome looking format, with an appealing cover, neat & clean interiors.

      What’s on the menu next?
I do not know really. There are a lot of ideas revolving in my head but I do not want the writing effort to be driven by the intention of publishing the next book. It might turn out artificial that way. But yes, now after knowing some insights of the publishing world, it is going to be an easier journey in future works. Lets see how it goes, time will tell what’s on the menu next.
Thank you so much for dropping by and sharing snippets of your life. Good luck with all your future endeavours.. 
Available at..
Amazon India – http://bit.ly/1q0aRag
NotionPress – http://bit.ly/1hIKOja
Pothi.com – http://bit.ly/NraHcZ
Amazon.com – http://amzn.to/1dlgqul
Ebook at Instamojo – http://imojo.in/kuhoobook
Order your special AUTHOR SIGNED copy (FREE SHIPPING in India) at  http://imojo.in/signedcopy
Free Sample preview – http://imojo.in/preview
Audio book version of Kuhoo’s book will be available at reado.com & audible very soon!
Kuhoo’s official blog – http://kuhoogupta.com/
Kuhoo’s FB profile – http://www.facebook.com/kuhoogupta
Kuhoo’s twitter handle – @kuhoogupta

Kuhoo’s page at Amazon – 

Kuhoo’s page at Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/kuhoogupta