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Petu Pumpkin Freedom Fighter by Arundhati Venkatesh (Author), Shilpa Ranade (Illustrator)

My take on the book:

Pushkin aka Petu Pumpkin and his four friends, Sachin, Jatin, Nithin, Kiran, the awesome fivesome are sad that their games class has been cancelled twice in a row. There is a new rule by the school principal that nobody is allowed to play or use the playground during lunch and other breaks. In summary, the playground is now restricted access for all the school children. Petu and his four friends are frustrated with this new rule as they cannot play during their breaks. 

When their school sports teacher has been fired, one of them overhears that the playground is being turned into a mall. On further adventure by scaling the trees near the principal’s office, they find the truth — that the playground is indeed being turned into a mall, as people affiliated to a local politician are keen to use the playground area for commercial purpose. This also meant all the trees in the vicinity are chopped down and Petu and his friends will never be able to play again.

Will the awesome fivesome be able to fight back the school management and the powerful politicians to save their playground forms the rest of the story.

Petu Pumpkin Freedom Fighter traces the story of a fifth-class student Petu turn in a freedom fighter when their school playground’s future was at stake. The story raises the important topic of playgrounds and open spaces lost for politicians’ and rich men’s greed to turn such spaces into malls and such commercial places. The story also raises the topic of how kids’ issues and concerns are equally important as that of adults, but they are often ignored. 

The author also showcases in a humorous way how opposition political parties try to hijack every peaceful protest for their political agendas and media is not far behind in manipulating facts for their popularity and TRPs. While the topic is a serious one, the author adds humor to the story through Petu’s love for food and constant need to munch on snacks. 

For conveying a sensible message to young kids, the author mixes humor in the narrative to realistic issues while proposing solutions that are practical. While each of the fivesome have their own distinct qualities and talent, the other characters included by the author are also well through of.

The story shows how a peaceful protest can always solve a problem and freedom fighters can sprout from any age if their intentions are right.

My rating: