4 Books for Mischief Makers

Once upon a time, books were about the do-gooders, the rule-followers, the ever-obedient. They were all about being nice. And naughty was punished.

And then came authors like Roald Dahl who challenged the labels, made a mockery of them (in the most hilarious way possible) and became legends. Naughty was not the same as evil anymore. Finally, a narrative that was likeable and did not enforce unmeetable standards of nobility.

It’s these latter kinds of narratives, the kind full of cheeky, confident, go-getters, who aren’t afraid to follow their hearts (even if it gets them in a little trouble) that I’ve come to adore, vouch for and encourage. And that’s my theme for this month’s newsletter.

Mischievous protagonists!

Dory Fantasmagory: Head in the clouds

Abby Hanlon

What is it about?

Dory has her first loose tooth, and, with her usual over-the-top excitement, she cannot stop talking about the tooth fairy. Naturally, this drives her brother and sister crazy. But it also sparks a serious jealous streak in her nemesis, Mrs Gobble Gracker, who wants all of Dory’s attention to herself.

But Mrs Gobble Gracker has decided to steal the tooth fairy’s job and flying around in a tutu from Rosabelle, she heads for Dory’s house. It’s time for Dory to come up with a serious plan to get the tooth fairy her job back.

Why read it?

Dory is a one-of-a-kind character with the most spectacular imagination that keeps getting her into trouble. She is full of weird antics and hysterical comebacks and excuses. I loved how her imagination is explored in the book, it’s really funny and witty and a little bit goofy. I also loved how the author has explored the life of a child, their worries, the sibling rivalry, the recess games, I think very few authors can really get into the minds of children and Abby Hanlon has done a splendid job!

Recommended for ages 8+ | MRP: Rs. 299 | Sale Price: Rs. 265

The Adventures of Tootsie Lama

stuti agarwal

What is it about?

 In many ways, Tootsie is like any eight-year-old in the hilly town of Darjeeling. But in many ways she is completely different – she lives on her own and cooks her meals. One day Tootsie decides she would like a delicious bowl of thukpa, just like her Aama used to make it. Now all she needs is a plan.

Why read it?

Tootsie Lama is a character and story that really reminded me of Pippi Longstocking when I first saw it. One of my most favourite parts of this story is the writing and particularly the setting of the story. The story is based in Darjeeling and the author has done a great job of describing life and the hills and the people. My second most favourite thing about the book is again the main character and her inextinguishable spirit. She’s very inspiring and admirable and I hope her readers find a hero in her.

Recommended for ages 7+ | MRP: Rs. 199 | Sale Price: Rs. 170

love sugar magic

anna meriano

What is it about?

Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival.

Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration—but, once again, she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and down to the bakery, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas—witches of Mexican ancestry—who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake. 

Leo knows that she has magical ability as well and is more determined than ever to join the family business—even if she can’t let her mama and hermanas know about it yet.

And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all…what could possibly go wrong?

Why read it?

 I loved the magic system in this one. In a world full of books about magic and witches, the idea of magic with food was so unique to me. The show-winner again is the protagonist who is so independent and set of finding the truth that her family keeps from her. I loved her rebellion and her desperation for being treated like a grownup, so relatable! The book also explores friendship and sisterhood really well, these characters stick out for each other even when they don’t agree with each other.

Recommended for ages 10+ | MRP: Rs. 399 | Sale Price: Rs. 360


Michael Morpurgo

What is it about?

“Now – there’s no point in pretending here – I was, and still am deep down a puppet. Everyone knows Pinocchio is a puppet. I reckon I must be just about the most famous puppet the world has ever known. But the truth is I’m not just a puppet, I’m more than just bits of wood and string. I’m me. So I thought it was about time that I, Pinocchio, told you my story…”

So begins this stunningly beautiful interpretation of the classic story. Michael Morpurgo channels Pinocchio’s words to tell the famous puppet’s story in his own inimitable, cheeky and always funny way.

Why read it?

The classic tale of morality, right from the puppet’s mouth! This is a fun retelling that gives Pinocchio an original and believable voice. Morpurgo’s writing is breezy and simple, I think his writing makes the book very easy to get through. Morpurgo pretty much sticks to the original script so you can see little to no changes from the classic by Carlo Collodi. That said, I think Pinocchio being the original rule-breaker, his story is a must on this list for all the questions it raises on right and wrong.

Recommended for ages 10+ | MRP: Rs. 499 | Sale Price: Rs. 450

Bookistaan is a small town, recommendations based children’s bookstore that believes that a child’s imagination is a black canvas that can and should be painted all sorts of colours and the best way to do it is through books. We bring to Kanpur the best of Children’s literature from India and abroad, offering diverse, age-appropriate reads for your child’s every need. 

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Rohini Vij

Rohini is a professional storyteller, educator, listed & certified Jolly Phonics UK trainer, curriculum developer, parenting coach, founder of NutSpace. She is on a mission to raise readers and is actively engaged with curriculum development for schools and her own ed-tech platform - Nutspace Edtech.

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