Author: Raja Sen
"The Best Baker in the World" | BEST BAKER IN THE WORLD
When film critic extraordinaire Raja Sen decides to spin a tale about a baker in the easy telling of limericks while conjuring up images of feasts and treats, it is a tale to be savoured with relish. Sen images Francis Coppola’s cult classic, The Godfather, in this tidy tale that is full of little happenings and exotic baking goodies.
The first in a series of unique retellings of cinematic masterpieces adapted for children, this wild and whimsical tale takes on one of the greatest films of all time. When a beloved baker finds himself in a soup, his three children must rally around to save the day.
“Good children’s stories have an additional layer of meaning. They are simple enough for children to enjoy them and, yet, complex enough so that the adults reading it out to them are also stimulated. That’s what I have tried to do with my references to the original film, and other allusions to pop culture. After all, you want to write what you’d yourself like to read,” explains Raja, whose own favourites include Alice in Wonderland, Roahl Dahl, Tintin and Asterix.
An alumnus of Don Bosco, Alaknanda, Sen was a voracious reader, and a lover of cinema too. He was known for the short essays he wrote in class that were deeply appreciated by his English mentors. He also had a subtle sense of humour and an eye for satire. He was the quiet reader, who used the dialogues and the incidents to create his own little verbal world. This book is replete with illustrations that carve a treat for tired eyes.
Details and elements that are full-bodied and quirky, expressions that are lofty as well as full of laughter and zest, the pages of the book have a satin smooth feel.The protagonist Don Cannoli is known for his desserts and pastries—he is a monarch in his bakery and works hard to perfect his trade. It is the little characters in the family as well as the few odd bad eggs that make the tale.
In terms of metaphors, the characters in the story belong to the land of animates—wthey have feathers and big paws along with amused and anxious expressions and behaviour. They also speak to us about a netherworld. The lyrical lines are effortless and have an equipoise about them. A delight indeed for parents who would love to read a short sleepy time tale to their children on a tired night. And, the children can devour the illustrations the next day.