Wadhera and Wadhera’s debut children’s book uses Indian folklore to craft a fairy tale about believing in oneself and accomplishing the impossible.
India is threatened by an evil demon, Raakshasa, who wants to rule the entire country. The kings of the North and the South devise a plan with their royal adviser, Pundit, to defeat the demon by uniting their soon-to-be-born children against her. When Pundit explains it is the children's destiny to defeat Raakshasa, both kingdoms rejoice. After the heirs, Prince Amir and Princess Sonali, each turn 3, Pundit gives them magical rings that endow them with the ability to harness the power of Shakti, the supreme power of the universe, to use against the demon. Raakshasa, however, curses the princess’s family as they leave the palace, turning them to stone. Sonali breaks the curse with her ring and is then rescued by a cow and a peacock, who raise her in a nearby village. There, she thrives as an ordinary village girl, but believes that she’s meant for greater things. Years later, when she encounters Amir, who possesses the secret to breaking the curse, they go on a mission to save her parents. Along the way, Amir falls in love with her bravery and intelligence. Sonali is presented as a brave, strong, and intelligent female character, who saves herself and her parents, with just a little help from Amir. She’s a wonderful role model for young girls, and her independence and strength give a refreshing, modern twist to traditional fairy tales in which the man usually saves the woman. The way that the prince and the princess unite to defeat a stronger foe will show young readers that they can accomplish the impossible if they believe and refuse to give up. The text is easy to follow and the pictures are vibrant, expressive, and compelling, bringing the magic of the story to life.
A delightful foray into magic, Indian culture, and the power of belief.