By
Shipra Shukla
   

Long, long time ago universal truths and morals were introduced to children through fables. In these stories, like Aesop’s fables, Panchtantra and Jataka Tales from India animals were made to play a star role in order to make it appealing to children. But times have changed although the universal truths and morals remain the same. Children now want characters who they see in everyday life, characters whom they can identify with, who they can laugh at, who talk in their language, wear cool clothes, are hip and quirky, have pizzazz and panache.

The animals are not your run of the mill or garden variety of animals. These are animals with some individuality which is uniquely their own. A cool swinging monkey with earrings and a bandana who swings, not by his tail but, by his walkman, he is a remix artiste- a copy cat who lifts a tune with élan; a deer, Flow-Jo, who puts on her tracks and runs for her life especially when the 4 crows, rap artists and hip-hoppers, begin their music practice; a peacock, vain and wry but intensely ashamed of his ugly feet which he hides in large army boots. We can hear him clod hopping minutes before he arrives; Melody, a cuckoo, a black singer. The crows
( Doray, Mefar, Sola Tidoo ) and their teacher, an enthusiastic frog Monsieur Tar-Tar , Kukkuu, Melody’s ’s ambitious mother who

abandons her child in the fat matronly Maggie, the crows’ nest , a lion who gets religion and wants to change his life, become a vegetarian, do good things and the difficulties he encounters on the way , Me-Too-Slow , the turtle whose angst –ridden even after winning the race against the fair and furry rabbit ,Aussie die Rich, an ex-actress who now manages a spa and , sometimes , comperes for shows ……these are animals who are fun to frolic  .
with and yet as their stories unfold we will see that they have the frailties and angst of humans. In modern times the desires and angst of children are different from those of yore. So this an attempt to write modern day fables with animal characters who are corny and cute, who face the problems that you and I may be faced with and who deal with them with modern day panache. Our characters are, however, positive; even the negative characters become positive in the course of the story. After all, it is not the person which is evil or bad, sometimes circumstances have made him so, and it is circumstances that can change them again. After all, the idea is not to destroy evil people but the evil that resides in them.Humor is the key element in these stories because who wants to hear long, boring, preachy stories. Not our children. They want something which is fast paced, racy and humorous .And they are going to find them here. Good values and principles are subtly weaved in

the story so children can benefit from it without getting the feeling that they are being preached or patronized. Each animal has a story which is uniquely his own. If you like Melody , the singing bird , then you will surely like the friendly lion who is a vegetarian , the turtle who wants to be fair and lovely, the peacock who wants to be a star , the crocodile who hates to brush his teeth …………….

Shipra Shukla
   
 

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