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Reviewed by Andrae Douglas for Readers' Favorite
Gagandeep and Chuchundar by Sarah Raj tells the story of a small village boy, Gagandeep – affectionately called Gagan – and a large beast, Chuchundar, that lives in the forest and makes his nest at the top of the world’s tallest mountain; Malai. Chuchundar lives a very happy and carefree life and enjoys playing with fish in the pond before growing hungry and having his fill of grass, berries and herbs, and then napping the afternoon away; at nightfall he would then retire to his nest. Life for Chuchundar is routine and lonely; he has a burning desire to have friends one day. One day a villager accidentally stumbled upon Chuchundar and fled at the sight of the large beast. Chuchundar decided to go into the village to return the bags the villager had dropped during his hasty retreat. Fearing for their lives, the villagers capture Chuchundar; Chuchundar’s fate now lies in the hands of Gagandeep.
I found the story of Gagandeep and Chuchundar to be adventurous, inspirational and entertaining. Sarah Raj is just as playful with words as Chuchundar is with the fish in the pond. The story of Gagandeep and Chuchundar reminds us that things are not always what they seem. It also shows the fact that sometimes adults may be wrong and it takes a child to correct them. It also places emphasis on not making harsh decisions without first ascertaining all the facts. Sarah Raj has successfully combined fun, wisdom, values and morals into one literary adventure, fittingly entitled Gagandeep and Chuchundar.