Ghostly encounters

Reviewed by Saima Salman

There is nothing better than an engrossing action-packed tale for children, for such stories allow them to visualise and let loose their imagination during as well as after reading the book.

D evil’s Garden is the story of Pappu who lives in a violin-shaped village that is located next to a mysterious river and a spooky forest. Pappu’s ancestors liberated this village from the British and hence it is called ‘Pappudom’, named after his great-great-great grand-uncle.

Pappu happens to be strolling along the river one afternoon when he thinks he has spotted a monster coming out of it. This leads to his misadventures. He reveals this to his friend KP who lives with his aged grandmother. Since KP lives in a joint family set-up, Pappu loves staying over at his place. His own house simply comprises of an older brother who doesn’t care about him, a mother who finds television more entertaining than her son and a father who is a very busy doctor. Children in KP’s family do not watch television before they go to bed. Instead they listen to their grandmother’s tales comprising mainly of historic or ghost stories and tales about the forest they all live next to.

Things start to look grim when one of KP’s older cousins, Unni, goes missing in the forbidden forest. At first the boys decide to stay put but like all curious lads of their age, they eventually venture into the forest to find the boy. KP’s grandmother gives them enough food for thought about the history of Kerala and how the forest and their village came to be. She warns them about ghosts and other supernatural powers and even gives them tips on how to defend themselves against them.

Pappu is eager to call forth his great-great-great grand-uncle’s ghost that has not come to his help in a long time, although he has gone with him into the past a number of times to help him defeat the British army.

In a series of thrilling events it is revealed why the creatures of the forest were infringing upon the human world and with a little help from the forces of the past and future, little Pappu, along with his dead ancestor, manages to maintain the peace of his village once again.
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