Suzy’s Gift, Sally and the Warlocks and The Hidden Continent comprise this book of stories by Shashi Warrier. Columnist, commentator, thriller writer and someone who writes stories for children because he is “good with them”, Warrier churns out three magical tales that are bound to make the reader stay till the ending is revealed.
Raided: Grimstock, the warlock, hunts for Sally.
In the last 14 years, Warrier became an author for good. Children’s books apart, he wrote Night of the Krait, The Orphan, Sniper and Hangman’s Journal. A scriptwriter (he scripted an award-winning Malayalam movie called Bokshu) on occasion, Warrier uses fantasy to great effect in his works for children.
Sally and the Warlocks…has a Chandamama-esque setting to it. In the first story, Suzy’s Gift, Suzy, the daughter of King Rudolph and Queen Christine, has an incredible gift. She can tell when a person resorts to lies in her presence. The minute a person starts telling a lie, his or her nose keeps growing. As a means to rule fairly, the king recognizes the potent tool in his palace. But other people are out to get the king and his kingdom. And their plans include how to immobilize the little girl. Will they succeed?
Sally and the Warlocks is about how little Sally witnesses a ritual that she is not supposed to. It is a ritual where the Warlocks bury their dead king. Warlocks are magicians who hate humans. Sally is captured by them and put in prison. She has only one hope of getting out and that is only if the kindly jailer and her mice friends, William and Mary, help her. And there are just six days for them to stop the Warlocks from killing everyone in the kingdom.
In The Hidden Continent, Ampersand, the Lord of Magic, is worried because humans have started travelling to all corners of the world. And their land, too, is under threat from these trespassers. To get away, he takes his people to a new country where they don’t expect anyone else apart from themselves to come by. They land in the Hidden Continent bang in the middle of a plot where two kings are planning to take over the other kingdoms by force. How can the magicians stop the wicked guys?
Warrier, who has been often described as a writer with a penchant for the dark and brooding, is a different man when he wields the pen for children. In these three stories, he cleverly combines palace intrigue, imaginative villains and magic. An enjoyable read for an eight- or nine-year-old.
With a master’s degree in economics from BITS, Pilani, the 49-year-old, Kerala-born author spent the early years of his life travelling across the country in the wake of his soldier father’s transfers. An avid biker, he hopes to travel around the world on his motorbike one day. He has had the right training for it. In 2004, he went around India on his Thunderbird.
The writer is the editor of Heek (e-heek.com), a children’s magazine
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