In Books: Ramayana, Rusty and zombies for young readers

Updated: Dec 29, 2013, 10:33 AM IST

Winter vacations are here again and children can have all the fun. In the midst of foggy mornings, chilly evenings and festive revelries, how about picking a book and indulging in some reading? This week`s bookshelf has something for young readers. Take a look.

1. Book: Ramayana: For Young Readers; Author: Upendra Kishore Ray Chowdhury, translated by Swapna Dutta; Publisher: Hachette; Pages: 198; Price: Rs. 299

All is well in the prosperous and orderly kingdom of Ayodhya until the greedy queen Kaikeyi tricks king Dashratha into sending his beloved eldest son and heir apparent, Rama, into exile for 14 years. The noble prince, accompanied by his brother Lakshmana and wife Sita, leaves for the forest.

When Sita is abducted by Ravana, the demon-king of Lanka, it triggers a series of events, starting with the search for her and culminating in the cataclysmic battle between Rama and Ravana. What unfolds in between is a remarkable tale of divine reincarnations, fierce demons, powerful kings, magical weapons and amazing creators - all woven into the extraordinary, keystone Indian epic of good and evil, love and enmity, boons and curses, hardships and destiny.

2. Book: Tales of Fosterganj; Author: Ruskin Bond; Publisher: Aleph; Pages: 142; Price: Rs. 295

It is the early 1960s and chance has brought a struggling writer to Fosterganj, a forgotten hamlet on the outskirts of Mussoorie. Little happens here, apart from the occasional mule train clattering down a cobbled street; and the writer hopes to live like a recluse, maybe finish a book or two.

But appearances, as always, are deceptive, and soon he is caught up in a series of unusual adventures: close encounters with a leopard and a sinister black bird; a drunken evening in the company of several hens and a penurious prince; and a journey to a remote cantonment town to deliver a box full of gemstones.

This book has characters - both charming and eccentric - and is a neat example of effortless storytelling.

3. Book: Zombiestan; Author: Mainak Dhar; Publisher: Duckbill; Pages: 248; Price: Rs.199

In a world laid waste by this new terror, five unlikely companions come together in a devastated New Delhi - a 17-year-old boy dealing with the loss of his family, a US Navy SEAL trying to get back home, an elderly history professor, a young girl and her three-year-old brother.

When they discover that the child may hold the key to ending the pestilence that threatens to destroy their world, they begin an epic journey to a rumoured safe zone high in the Himalayas. The journey will pit them against terrible adversaries, both human and undead.

Will they survive? Or will they too, like many before them, become undead citizens of Zombeistan?

4. Book: Flat-Track Bullies; Author: Balaji Venkataramanan; Publisher: Duckbill; Pages: 246; Price: Rs. 250

I am Ravi. Ravi Venkatesh. You can just call me Ravi.
Vacation or no vacation I do two types of things. One: things that make me happy. Two: things that make mom happy.

Sample this: Playing with friends, video chatting with girls, dreaming, sleeping....

Attending school, special classes and competitions...

I guess, I don`t need to explain which one of the above lists is mine.

This is the world of Ravi - and this book is about his world where you will find some parts of your life.