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Book Review: Petu Pumpkin Tiffin Thief

Pushkin loves to eat. He’s not fussy either – if it’s edible, he’ll eat it. Pushkin’s friends – Jatin, Sachin, Kiran and Nitin – know this, but even they’re baffled when Pushkin returns from his summer holiday so ravenous that he finishes his many dabbas well before lunch. His only solution for lunch is to polish off his friends’ lunches too.

Arundhati Venkatesh, Petu Pumpkin Tiffin Thief, book, story for kids, reviewHungry and unhappy, they decide Petu Pumpkin, as they call Pushkin, has crossed a line. The four form a secret society to find a way to save both their lunches and their friendship with Pushkin.

It’s apparent that author Arundhati Venkatesh has read a lot of Enid Blyton – she even references Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven series. The Awesome Foursome secret society in Petu Pumpkin Tiffin Thief is an homage to Blyton’s works, but the society itself is different from any created by the English author. Unlike their British counterparts, these youngsters are no super sleuths, and I chuckled throughout their journey to arrive at a creative solution to their problem.

Venkatesh’s sense of humour is subtle. There are no crazy antics to amuse young readers in this story for kids; the plot is simple. All the personality is in the colourful characters and dialogue, and Venkatesh has created a merry band of friends that any kid can identify with. The characters are slightly one-dimensional, but you can overlook this because Petu Pumpkin isn’t a deep book about great personal development. It’s about working together to solve a problem, and each member of the Awesome Foursome brings a unique trait to the table to do just that.

Petu Pumpkin Tiffin Thief is a fun story for kids age 6 and older. It’s certainly made me hungry for more stories by Venkatesh, and I’m off to read the sequel, Petu Pumpkin Tooth Troubles, next.

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