Hole books are early chapter books for children transitioning from picture books to longer books. The stories are contemporary, Indian and with protagonists who are the age of the potential readers, facing dilemmas and challenges which the readers would be familiar with.
The two new Hole Books added to the collection, A Pinch of Magic by Asha Nehemiah and Nida Finds a Way by Samina Mishra, carry this task out to perfection. Here is a sneak peek into both books. There is no way your child won’t want to read these after being thrown into the middle of some thrilling action from both the stories.
A Pinch of Magic
Appa should have known better than to ask Veena for help. Because whenever Veena was asked to help, many strange and unexpected things happened.
Take the time Veena’s mother had asked for help with oiling her bicycle.
‘Just one single drop of oil right here,’ Amma had pointed to the spot on the bicycle pedals. Shailaja Seshadri was getting ready for the Blue Mountain Bicycle Rally. ‘One. Single. Drop,’ she repeated firmly.
Veena, of course, wanted to be of as much help as possible. So she oiled every single point she could find. And to be safe, she used a few drops of oil each time. Then she tied a lucky charm on to the handlebars. She really wanted her mother to win the race.
The next day, a few minutes after starting the race, Amma found her fingers slipping off the handlebars and sliding off the brakes. Even worse, the lucky charm flew off when she started cycling fast, and got stuck in her nostril. Amma had to stop without even finishing the race.
So though he knew that he could be asking for big trouble, Veena’s appa didn’t know what else to do. Or who else to ask. His wife was out cycling with a group of friends. His sister, Malu, had left the house at dawn, muttering something about a spoon. Only he and Veena were at home, eating breakfast.
Nida Finds a Way
‘I want to ride a bicycle!’ Nida sang out. Her small hand—quite big for a seven-year-old, she thought—was folded into Abba’s large one as they walked together through the streets of Abul Fazal Enclave.
The large hand quivered and tried a strange move, as if it wanted to hold not just the small hand but also the wrist, maybe the entire arm.
Abba stopped walking. Nida looked up. His eyes were round like pooris, his beard twitched nervously in all directions, like the traffic on the street.
‘Do you see this road?’
Nida looked down at the road. It was black, like most roads. Many kinds of wheels rolled past—scooter tyres, car tyres, rickshaw wheels, bicycle wheels.
‘Do you see this traffic?’
Nida looked up. A red Maruti was overtaking a faded white tempo. A motorcycle was swaying to the right, a rickshaw swerving to the left.
‘No cycling for you!’
Imran went past on a cycle much too big for him, riding scissor-style. He was in Nida’s class.
‘Nidaaaa! Look, no hands!’
Show-off, thought Nida and turned to Abba. ‘No, not like that,’ she began.
‘I don’t want to ride like that.’
But Abba’s eyes had become rounder, his face had become red.
Nida sighed. She knew that face. Abba the Worrier, they called him at home. When Nida climbed up the ladder that led to the water tank, Abba flapped his arms in panic.
When Nida came home from school with a scraped knee, Abba lurched about the house looking for Betadine.