Invisible Patterns

The story of Harsh, a regular fifth grader who plays basketball, watches sports on TV and loves pizza dinners, is not just gripping, it's full of useful (not preachy!) lessons for the reader.

This book has many things going for it: It is not drenched in nostalgia though it is about a time when neighbours looked out for each other's kids. It is not full of cliched schoolboy adventures like battling monsters or catching smugglers. Instead, it actually has situations where kids play Scrabble and not 'God of War' on their Play Station Portable! And, it's not hilariously funny though it will make you laugh when you come across Harsh's classmate doing a perfect imitation of their Hindi teacher and gasp when you read of Harsh's Red Indian dreams!

Yet 'Invisible Patterns' effortlessly grips the attention of hyper 10-year-olds, who are usually avowed fans of the 'Goosebumps' series or Horrid Henry's capers!

Simple, subtle and deft, the book's strength lies in the way it moves from light-hearted situations to serious ones as it raises hard questions ("where have we come from?"; "what happens to the soul after a person dies?"; "why do I sometimes have strange dreams?") that many children spontaneously ask.

I'm pretty certain that 'Invisible Patterns' is the first children's book I've read that features unusual 'past-life' experiences of kids as the plot. Reincarnation lies at the heart of the story but the treatment is so sunny that the book takes on real power. The magical and the mundane co-exist happily in this story.

Would I recommend it to all you young readers? Of course, especially to 9-12 year olds who enjoy a good, real-life mystery. Considering that it is far more reasonably priced than a Bey Blade or a Transformer Toy, you could give it to your friends as a 'take-home present' at when your next birthday party comes around!

Invisible patterns
Written by: Dr Shyamala Vatsa
Illustrated by: J K Naren
Published by: Fo'c'sle Publications
Price: Rs 75
Pages: 53

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