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Can you turn 2-minute noodles into a flock of sheep?

The ‘Art Is Everywhere’ series from Pratham Books uses fun and games to help children discover art among the most unexpected objects around them

A page from Art Is Everywhere: Here, There and In Food, illustrated by Canato Jimo.  (Pratham Books)

Children and adults alike love to play that game of identifying animals hiding among white tufts of clouds in a blue sky. But such images are all around us if we care to look hard enough. 

Art Is Everywhere, a new series of picture books published by Pratham Books, plays on the trope of surprises lurking in every corner, such that a packet of instant noodles may start looking like a mama sheep and her two little lambs. The three books—based on food, trash and everyday objects—have “irreverent” rhyming verses by Aparna Kapur and Bijal Vachharajani, with illustrations by Adrija Ghosh, Canato Jimo, Sheena Deviah and Priya Kuriyan, who is also the guest art director for the series.

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Each of the books uses fun and games to teach young readers new ways of looking at the world around them. There is no didacticism or heavy-handed messaging about not wasting food or finding ways of recycling the trash we throw away every day. Instead, through spunky humour and minimal fuss these books stoke wide-eyed wonder among kids (and also some adults, for sure). 

Does your child play with their food? Maybe it's a stepping stone to honing their imagination. How else would they see baby dinosaurs hatching out of litchi shells? Or fluffy clouds among the florets of a cauliflower?

The covers of the three books.
The covers of the three books. (Pratham Books)

In the book about trash, there are lions with pencil shaving for their manes (Priya Kuriyan's artwork) and flutterflies made of discarded toffee wrappers (Sheena Deviah's ingenious touch), among other creatures and characters. A vegetable peel (below) sings a plaintive song: Wobble wooble wobble,/ Into the trash can I fell./ Hobble hobble hobble,/ Into the mud, with a loud yell./ Gobble gobble gobble,/ Eaten by earthworms. Oh well.

Sheena Deviah's illustration for ‘A Peel’.
Sheena Deviah's illustration for ‘A Peel’.

The third book in the series reimagines everyday objects, a trick that has now been made iconic by illustrator Christoph Niemann on his @abstractsunday Instagram page. A pair of scissors transform into the face of "Cross Krish" in Adrija Ghosh's illustration (below). A syringe takes the shape of a mosquito in Priya Kuriyan's hand, while Canato Jimo creates a herd of elephants using three small locks.

Cross Krish, illustrated by Adrija Ghosh.
Cross Krish, illustrated by Adrija Ghosh. (Pratham Books)

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    17.09.2021 | 12:30 PM IST

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