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Book Review: Survival Tips for Lunatics

Writers | 7-14 yrs | Interactive, Reading Pod

“No tents, no vehicles, no people. It hadn’t been a dream after all. While we were sleeping, the others- including Mom and Dad- had packed up and moved out.”

Have your parents ever forgotten you at a shopping mall or a restaurant or, let’s say, at a camping trip? Well, Changez and Timmy Khan have parents who keep forgetting them and this time they are left alone at a camping trip set in Balochistan.

Written by Shandana Minhas, ‘Survival Tips for Lunatics,’ is an adventurous, witty and emotional journey of these two brothers who need to find a way out of this mess. In this journey they encounter an earthquake and animals that can speak to them.

The animals are well depicted through beautiful illustrations by Sayan Mukherjee.

There is a friendly sparrow that knows what is to be done, when and how and doesn’t take any kind of nonsense. Its only job is to get the brothers to safety. There is a fuming dragon, the guardian of the hills who is always angered by bad poetry. Other characters include a poetic Markhor (a wild goat), Baluchitheria (a mammal thought to be extinct) and vegetarian Velociraptors (type of dinosaur; also extinct).

The most dangerous creatures in the story are some pesky humans who are up to no good. There are angry soldiers from Afghanistan and Pakistan and some horrible rogues who capture small children.
This is an adventure tale with a twist. The book takes a dig at mankind – they do not take care of their own kind and try and be brave by killing innocent animals who, when needed, will help humans.

Do Changez and Timmy get to meet their mother and father again? Wander with them on an eventful journey and think- are our animals really meant to be in zoos and national parks? This would surely be on any good books to read list.

Kids Books- Survival Tips for Lunatics, Shandana Minhas (Hachette India Children’s Books, 183 pages, Rs.275)

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