‘Lola and Chacko‘ is written by Priyamvada Rajan and Sukanya Umesh, illustrated by Jayesh Sivan and published by Ms Moochie Books.
Recommended ages for self-reading:
Regular 7+, Advanced 5+
Lola and Chacko: A Celebration of Love
Lola and Chacko is not a labour of love. It is a celebration of it.
I remember the first time I read the story of Lola and Chacko. After a hectic schedule of back-to-back trips, a host of new faces greeted me. They recently joined the company as part of their internship. I remember the editors, Karthika and Karishma, sending all of us a bunch of fresh stories to read and give feedback on. As it turns out, my favourite one was the collection with Lola and Chacko.
By the time I read the first two stories, I was especially thrilled. But it was only when I was done with the last one, that I was sure this would be a great story to tell. I knew exactly how to bring this tale to life. Excited to begin, I look around the office, fully expecting to find one of the more extroverted interns to be the author. To my surprise, there was Priyamvada, sitting quietly with a dreamy smile across her face. Which just goes to show, oftentimes people are like books, and one should never judge a person by the books they write. Or something like that, right?
I told Karthika and Priyamvada that I absolutely loved the story. But also that I might make a few improvisations along the way to really get the kids hooked. Luckily for me, they had no objections. Phew!
The Ms Moochie Process
At Ms Moochie, storytellers experiment with every story on their trips to different schools. We figure out first hand whether children enjoy the stories written for them. Children are brutally honest with their feedback. With each revision, we incorporate every piece of feedback into the story. Then, we test it in classrooms until it receives an overwhelmingly positive response from all students.
The first time I read out Lola and Chacko for a storytelling session, I didn’t improvise the story a lot. It usually takes me about two or three tellings to remember all the plot points in the order that it is written. So, my first few tellings just told me that even without improvising too much, the story of Lola, Chacko and their adventure through the forest works effortlessly.
But where’s the fun in that?!
Once I knew the story like the back of my hand, that’s when I started having fun. I began to add more details- from Lola’s personality to just how sweet and cuddly Chacko is! I expanded on all the ways in which they would play together.
The Evolution of Lola and Chacko
During one particularly fun session, I started telling the story to a classroom full of eager faces. I knew that they were looking forward to being scared silly. All of a sudden, I realised how I can make the story scarier. That’s how I added the backstory of the forest and its grizzly inhabitant.
Slowly, the world of the forest started to come alive… A dry stick cracking in two; a snake slithering too close for comfort; a bird swooping past right next to a child’s ear. All the drama and tension, the silences and sudden noises, the rising threat of a loved one being eaten alive-
I’ll have to admit, scaring the children and making them all collectively scream to a story that I was taking them along, is a satisfying feeling every time.
After all, who doesn’t love a good rush of adrenaline through the mind of a child, determined to save her best friend from a big, scary monster?
Have you read Lola and Chacko yet?
What did you think of the book?
Leave a comment below and let us know!
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