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Chachaji's Cup Hardcover – March, 2003

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-Neel's great-uncle often tells stories from India-sometimes of gods such as Hanuman the monkey-but one day he relates his experiences as a child in 1947, "-when India was split in two.-`The country was broken.'" His family walked miles with millions of other refugees to cross the border into India, his mother carrying with her the flowered china cup from which the old man now drinks his tea. When Neel accidentally breaks it, and Chachaji is coincidentally hospitalized, the child tries to cheer his uncle to no avail. After a dream about his great-grandmother and her frightened little boy making their journey, he glues the cup together as best he can, presenting it to a grateful Chachaji. "It wasn't much good for holding tea anymore. But I figured you don't have to be shiny new to hold memories." Neel's voice lends immediacy and a warm family feeling to this graceful story. The simple explanation of the Partition is understandable to young children. The emphasis on the concrete reality of what it means to be a refugee-to have to leave one's home and travel to a new place-will also speak to them. Unfortunately, the illustrations are a drawback. Usingthickly applied paints in vivid colors and done in an expressionistic style, their composition is interesting, even arresting, but the human figures are too often awkwardly amateurish. Given the value of the subject matter, the paucity of picture books featuring Indian characters, and the skill of the telling, however, this would be a worthwhile purchase.
Nancy Palmer, The Little School, Bellevue, WA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

K-Gr. 3. In his comfortable home in the U.S., an Indian boy, Neel, hears exciting stories from his great-uncle Chachaji about the Hindu gods and demons. Chachaji also tells of his terrifying childhood journey in 1947, when his country was split into India and Pakistan and his family had to flee across the border, taking with them only what they could. Except for one double-page spread showing the lines of desperate refugees, the story is in the present, focusing on Neel with his uncle and on the treasured teacup that Chachaji always drinks from because his mother (Neel's great-grandmother) brought it with her on that trek across the border, "every step weighed down with sadness." The richly colored paintings, moving close-ups and sweeping overviews, evoke the exuberance and melancholy of the family story. The writer includes a brief historical note about the partition, but readers will want more about that child refugee, even as they are drawn into the rich contemporary scene of the American boy's bond with the uncle who is not quite at home here. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Children's Book Press (March 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892391782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892391783
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.5 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As Neel grows up, he gets involved in basketball and computer games. He outgrows his great Uncle Chachaji's stories of old India. And as his uncle ages, Chachaji's stories trail off and are not the center of family attention. Great Uncle Chachaji has a fragile cup that made it all the way from India and India's partition in 1947. But Neel breaks the cup while rushing through the washing of dishes. The next day, Uncle Chachaji, like the cup, breaks, and is taken to the hospital. Should broken cups, like old men, be repaired, or just tucked away in the back of a bedroom closet? Can a place be found for a cup that is no longer good for drinking tea? And what about Uncle Chachaji? Neel has a plan.
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Format: Hardcover
A beautiful and moving story, Chachaji's Cup offers young readers a wonderful introduction to the partition of India and the massive displacement that it created. However, more important even than the history is the touching relationship portrayed between a young boy and his aging uncle. Through the symbol of the uncle's fragile teacup, which survived partition and a lifetime of change, the author crafts a beautiful story about family, memories, and love. The writing is lyrical and moving, and the illustrations are magnificent. My kids both love this book, as do I. We've had fantastic conversations about history, family, symbolism ...it's highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
The great partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 caused chaos, conflict, and displacement throughout the sub-continent. Uma Krishnaswami masterfully introduces the partition to kids, using the relationship between an immigrant boy and his grandfather to illuminate the cost of that historical event. Readers will relate to Neel, a typical elementary-aged American boy who loves shooting hoops and playing computer games. When Neel decides to honor his family's history and heritage, the encouragement for readers to do the same is subtle but powerful. After finishing this moving book and enjoying Sitaraman's delightful illustrations, I wanted to share a cup of steaming tea with my Dad and hear a few more of his Partition stories.
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By SONDY on September 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
sweet story and lovely illustrations
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