Avantika’s Garden is a simple, delightful tale for children about the adventures of a sprightly menagerie of animals that live in and around a house in suburban Pune. The cast includes Sheru the dog, Shanti the peacemaker cat, Krishnamachari Yellaguri Iyengar a.k.a. Krrish the loquacious lizard, Titli the Miss Poona Butterfly aspirant. Gun Gun the queen bee, Birbal the brainy spider, and Eddie the Anglophile squirrel. Like children anywhere, they too have their fights and flights of fancy, dare to dream and try to make sense of their worlds.
Engagingly written and brimming with wit and subtle spoof, Avantika’s Garden marks the arrival of an exciting new voice in children’s writing.
Virgin Leaf Books
Year of Publication
No of Pages
A squirrel that snores, a lizard who loves to watch soap operas, a waspish queen bee and a spider who gets his eight legs tangled are among the residents of Avantika’s garden. While Avantika and her family are away on vacation, furry and feathered creatures have a free run of the garden. Children will enjoy reading this collection of short stories about the animals, their daily squabbles and life’s little pleasures.
Bijal Vachharajani, TimeOut, 5 February 2010
Avantika’s Garden is a wonderful book about the adventures of an active group of friends who live in a garden in Pune.
Individually there is a whole lot of difference between each of them but they still live together and have a great time.
Sheru, the dog, leads the group with his wise ideas but is also the one to face many problems. Shanti is a peacemaker cat who always solves Krish, the lizard and Birbal, the spider’s problems with her peaceful thoughts. Titli is a beautiful butterfly who aspires to be Miss Poona Butterfly and is always worried about her looks. Gun Gun is a queen bee who carries anger along with her and does not stop scolding her workers but also helps her friends with their problems by promising to sting anyone who annoys them. Lastly, Eddie is the squirrel who collects nuts and never gives up-a very hardworking squirrel indeed!
So now that you know all the characters in the book, read it to find out more about the enthusiastic lot of friends and their adventurous journey.
RobinAge, 3 December 2009
The Garden Comes Alive
“Arre, Ma!” shouted Avantika, running inside her parent’s bedroom. “Why don’t you just push all the things in the suitcase? Baba is already here with the taxi.”
Ma looked up and smiled at her eight-year old frowning impatiently at her with her hands on her hips. “Yes, beta. I’m almost done. Can you please find your sister?”
Avantika took a deep breath as she turned around on her feet. “Adu, ADU. Where are you?”
There was a giggle from under the bed. Avantika immediately got down on her knees. She could see a small figure curled up in a corner. “Adu, come out from there right now. We’re all getting late.”
There was a loud giggle and then silence once again.
“Okay then, have it your way. I’m sending a lizard inside that will crawl all over you.”
That did the trick. Advaita, Avantika’s four-year old sister, scrambled out from under the bed with a loud scream and did not stop running until she was out of the house and inside the taxi.
A few minutes later, Ma wheeled the suitcase outside and locked the front door. A golden-brown Belgian shepherd came bounding out of nowhere and almost knocked Avantika over. “Yes, yes, Sheru,” she laughed as the dog put his paws over her shoulders and slobbered all over. “I shall miss you very much too. Oh, how will I spend so many days without you?”
Advaita made a face at her sister from the taxi. “Now who’s making us late?” she piped up.
But Avantika did not pay any attention. She ran her fingers through Sheru’s thick golden mane and gave him a tight hug. “Be a good boy now,” she whispered in his ear.
Ma pulled Advaita into her lap. “Arvind, we really must get going now. The train leaves in an hour’s time.”
Baba finished tying the luggage on the carrier of the taxi and opened the gate. He gently pulled Avantika away and ruffled her hair. “We’ll be back soon,” he comforted her as tears streamed down her face.
Baba then turned towards Sheru and rubbed his ears. “Take care of the house. And don’t you give Tanaji a hard time.”
Sheru pushed his snout out through the grill and gave a low whine as Baba locked the gate. “We love you, Sheru!” shouted Avantika, wiping her eyes as the Mane family waved goodbye.
Within moments, the taxi sputtered to life and bumped down the rocky road towards the dusty highway.
There was a soft rustling sound as a white cat with black patches on her crown and tail jumped deftly onto the gulmohar tree in the garden. “So has the Mane family left for Goa, Titli?” she asked as a pretty orange butterfly flitted by and landed on the white petals of a magnolia flower.
Titli turned towards the cat with a loud sigh. “What do you think, Shanti?” she asked, pointing below and shaking her head. “Anyway, it’s time for me to sunbathe now.”
Shanti walked till the end of the branch and peered below. She could see Sheru sitting near the gate with his ears down and his head buried in his paws.
“I just don’t understand these dogs,” retorted Titli, fluttering her wings. “Why in the world do they get so emotional about their masters? I mean, you don’t see me getting attached to any one flower, now do you?”
Shanti couldn’t help but smile. “It’s just the way they are. Why don’t we do something to cheer him up?”
“I think we should just leave him alone,” replied Titli with a loud yawn. The warm glow of the sun’s rays was so comforting that she was fast asleep within a few moments.
But Shanti was beginning to feel worried about Sheru. He had just been lying at the gate, not even bothering to shoo away the flies that were hovering around his nose. And if Sheru’s nose was not complaining, then there was definitely cause for concern.
Shanti finally decided that she should at least start a conversation with him. She climbed down to a lower branch that was overlooking the stone path. “Er…hey Sheru, isn’t this a lovely day?”
But all that happened was Sheru’s ears drooped even further.
“Why don’t we play some game?” asked Shanti, trying to change the topic.
Unfortunately, it was the one question that she should not have asked. The very next moment, Sheru let out a loud howl and covered his eyes with his right paw. “Avantika plays ‘fetch the ring’ with me every evening.”
“Come on, Sheru. You know that Avantika will be back very soon.”
“But what will I do till then? Every morning, Ma lets me in, and I snuggle at Avantika’s feet.”
Shanti could see that this was not working. She decided to try another approach. “So when is Tana coming? I’m sure that you must be looking forward to meeting him.”
Sheru turned his head to the other side. “Tana will be coming only tomorrow evening,” he replied in a low voice.
Shanti sat down with a sigh. She seemed to be asking all the wrong questions. But she was not going to give up until her friend had a smile on his face.
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