Talking about all this children’s literature is drowning me in nostalgia. We’ve had so many people echoing my sentiments and sharing their feedback on our previous blog post about how it took them back to their childhood days. My mission with this blog is to explore what is it about this universe that keeps people glued to and children lost in these simple childhood tales.
As discussed in our previous blog post, our affection towards storybooks compelled us to come up with our own interpretation – ‘Children’s Storybooks for Adults’. It is all about mixing children’s book style with storylines that resonate with grownups as well. Characters were one very important aspect of the children’s storybooks. To make stories more relatable to children, authors would often have children or animals as protagonists. One story that never left my mind while I was working on this project was Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Match Girl. The story’s protagonist was a young homeless girl who lit match after match on a cold winter night as she tried to keep warm. Thematically it was considered too tragic and dark for children. The English storybook version that I had as a child retold the story with beautifully done water-colour illustrations. The story took place at night on a cold New Year’s Eve with a little girl imagining comfort and meeting her dead grandmother. The juxtaposition of the outer vs inner universe is what made us so empathetic towards the little girl. It was a children’s story, but it was also a subtle commentary on poverty, homelessness and society’s indifference to suffering.
Moving on (I think I got something in my eye), do you remember all the bedtime stories we used to read and get read to us? The protagonists ranged from mice to lions, tortoise to bears, giraffes, wolves, rabbits, dogs, cats, monkeys, foxes, wise owls and three little piggies. And we loved them! So of course, our obvious choice was to have children and animals in our own story. Before going further with any details of our project, I would like you to meet Myra and her best friend.
Who is Myra?
Myra is a 10 year old girl. She is the only child in her family and lives in a big city with her parents. She does not like the city or her parents, so she often comes and stays with her grandmother. She does not have any friends of her age or even of her own species. However, her grandmother has a beautiful house in the countryside, which is right next to a forest. Her grandmother is the only person Myra really likes. When she drifts off to sleep during the afternoon, Myra sneaks out of the house and quietly goes down to the forest. Her spite for the city life is equally opposed by her love for the forest where her friends Mr. Owl and Miss Fox reside. But her best friend, Zuku, is unlike anyone else. She adores him and has forged a special connection with him. Zuku makes her feel strong, safe and cared for. Zuku is not just her friend but her hero – he is her saviour.
Because Myra has a secret.
Who is Zuku?
Zuku is a white rabbit who Myra met two years ago in the same forest. She was scared of him at first. But over time she started visiting him more often. Eventually he became her best friend. Myra shares everything with Zuku – her hopes, fears, dreams and what she wants to be when she grows up. Zuku himself has grown to become very protective of Myra over the past two years – he listens to her and caters to all her whims and wishes.
Zuku has a habit of disappearing often. Myra has trouble looking for him most days, but whenever they do meet, it’s like they were never part. Zuku has his own secret language with Myra.
This time, it’s important for Myra to meet Zuku as soon as possible. This time Myra really, really needs his help with something.
Because Zuku also has a secret.
What are Myra and Zuku’s secrets? What will you find in the forest?
We’ll be unveiling all secrets of ‘Myra’s Best Friend’ next week. Do you want to hazard a guess? To find out keep watching this space.