This book took me right back to my childhood! But what’s interesting is that the stories in this book aren’t just retellings of Indian folk tales, but original tales inspired by Indian folklore. And I’ll admit that I was slightly sceptical at first – would the stories be too outdated or old-fashioned? Or too simplistic? Just how exactly was she going to use folkloric traditions to tell original stories? Well, Mangoes, Mischief and Tales of Friendship turned out to be quite a sweet surprise. The stories are stand-alone but are interconnected, driven by two characters, Prince Veera and his friend Suku. I like how well etched out the characters are and the fact that none of the stories are dampened by a moralistic or preachy tone even though they have a clear message. It’s easy to go overboard with the descriptions when you’re dealing with a genre like this, but Chitra Soundar’s writing just hits all the right notes. Yes, there are mangoes and pickles, laddus and elephants, hot summer months and turbaned kings, but it’s all woven together with a deft, light touch. And the illustrations complement the text beautifully!