Friday, October 28, 2011

The Curse of Mukada (Monkey Magic series): A Review

By John Cheeran

The Curse of Mukada, the first book in the Monkey Magic series is a story about our closest relatives. As 11-year-old Romy’s father Dr Jeremy tells her, apes and monkeys need to be protected from their close relatives. You and me, that is.
It is more than a story – Grant S Clark’s book carries a powerful message for young readers, urging them to be environmentally conscious, wherever they are. In The Curse of Mukada Dr Jeremy sets out to find out why orang-utans (man of the forest) were behaving strangely at the Mukada Nature Reserve in the rainforest island of Borneo in southeast Asia. All of a sudden orang-utans were migrating to the coast, an area they normally avoided and that was home to proboscis monkeys. The proboscis didn’t enjoy orang-utans poking their noses around and the orang-utans were falling sick in the new terrain.
Is Mukada’s Curse the reason why orang-utans are dying now? According to the lore, an orang-utan saved the whole Mukada village except a boy from a huge fire, years ago. But the family that lost its child in the fire cursed the orang-utan for not saving the boy. Romy has been told that orang-utans are dying since then.
Although Dr Jeremy brought Romy along to his mission to Mukada, she expected only to watch her father at work. But Clark wins young readers over by pitting the 11-year-old girl against the dark forces that operate at the forest.
It’s Romy’s adventure that holds together the slim narrative. She makes friends with the orang-utan clan, and manages to exorcize the curse, and your jaw may drop when you find out who are the villains.

Title: The Curse of Mukada
Author: Grant S Clark
Publisher: Hachette India
Price: Rs 175

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