Title : Mikey series
Authors : Amal & santa Simothy, Hitul & Seema Thobani
Illustrator : Anca Delia and Budeanu
Publisher : Kidz4mation

Animal stories - a sure way to reach a child's heart.  Children just love animal stories and if they are laced with some morals, parents and teachers love them even more.

Kidz4formation has published a series of animal stories each conveying a different life lesson.  Stories revolve around Mikey - a little monkey in Happyland.  Mikey and  his friends study, play and learn indispensable life skills as they are growing up. Tiggle tree is Mikey's confidant and a significant part of Mikey and his friends' adventures.  Sometimes Pari - the peacock and Mikey's dear friend Genie help make the learning part easier for Mikey and his friends. 

Mikey Takes a Moment (ISBN: 978-0-9563260-4-1) - In the current times when parents and teachers are struggling to harness the  hyperactivity  among children , a simple meditation technique  is presented to calm them down a little.

Mikey Says 'I can do it' (ISBN: 978-0-9563260-2-7) - Mikey learns how to overcome the mental block to reach higher goal which he thought could never be possible.

Mikey Aces His Test  (ISBN: 978-0-9563260-3-4) - Mikey discovers the advantage of keeping the energy focused on thinking positive rather than wasting it in worrying about the negative outcomes.

Chik-Chik's cap  (ISBN: 978-0-9563260-5-8) - A story of how Chik Chik gets comfortable with her not so perfect appearance in an imperfect world.  A great skill- to accept things as they are and not letting the self-esteem get affected  by anything.

Tiggle Takes Off  (ISBN: 978-0-9563260-1-0)-  Gratitude - an important skill to learn and acquire. Mikey and his friends always play on Tiggle tree but never convey their gratitude to the tree. What trick the Tree uses to make Mikey realise his folly?

Another one, which I did not read or review is Mikey helps Toot-Toot 

The authors have come up with an original concept to teach a different developmental value through separate stories and books. The skills that the parents/teachers want to impart to children/students  - Positive thinking, gratitude, raising self-esteem, calming down a little, positive affirmation, self-belief. The footnotes for children and parents/teachers are very valuable and reinforce the lesson learnt  from the story.

A few observations:

  1. Positive thinking and positive affirmation could have been clubbed together. Telling the children different fancy names of moral values is not the goal rather making them understand these values is the focus.

  2. Including "Mikey" in all the titles  could have helped in maintaining the continuity in the series - easy for the children to remember and follow the character.

  3. Separate placements of text and illustrations (instead of superimposing text on illustrations) help in avoiding the clutter on the pages. For 3 to 5 years children, the text could be a little less.  But for 4 to 8 years children, text length is fine but nothing beats - text neatly printed on a plain background.

  4. The books get a little too preachy for little children. It starts with a small story and then goes on to tell them what to do and what not to do. The books which have a lasting impression on little children are the ones where the storyline is really interesting and a subtle message is conveyed though the story. Preaching in the raw form seldom stays for longer time.

Concept is good but in children's books the handling and presentation make all the difference. These  days there is a deluge of books in this space and the challenge for the writers of children's books is how to present the concept in a unique way to children as well as to their caregivers. With so many other interesting options already available, these set of books have to be a little more prepared for the challenge of making a lasting impression on young minds.