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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Chatur and the Enchanted Jungle is a children’s picture book written by Subhash Kommuru and illustrated by Nayan Soni. Chatur and his faithful donkey friend, Gadhu, were travelling around looking for work. Chatur was impatient and wanted to go faster, but Gadhu always cautioned that Chatur had to take it easy. Those wise words were hard for the impatient Chatur to accept, however, and as they continued traveling he decided to take a shortcut through the jungle that was blocking their way. They soon found that they had lost their way. Chatur became tired and decided to lie down under a large Bargad tree while his donkey lay down in the grass. He began to think about how thirsty he was and wished aloud that he had some cold water, and, suddenly, he found a jug of fresh cold water before him. His delight at the cold drink made him think to ask for food as well, and it also promptly appeared. Chatur began to think that the jungle was enchanted, that he could ask for anything and would receive it. Gadhu was not so sure and urged caution. He saw that Chatur was overjoyed at all the things he could have, but Gadhu thought he should be careful.
Subhash Kommuru’s children’s picture book, Chatur and the Enchanted Jungle, is an enchanting and educational fable that advises children, in the words of the donkey, Gadhu, to just take it easy. This is the second Chatur fable for children that I’ve read, and I love both the fact that they introduce children to characters who live in a different culture and setting and that they teach lessons through fables. In this case, Chatur’s problems arise because of his greed. Nayan Soni’s illustrations are marvelous! They’re brightly colored and bring Chatur and Gadhu’s lives and surroundings to life. The jungle scenes are especially vividly portrayed as Chatur makes those wishes that come true. This is an excellent selection for story time; however, the vocabulary and illustrations also make it an excellent primer for young readers. Chatur and the Enchanted Jungle is most highly recommended.