Reviews and praise

Rumu has created a delightful collection of children stories which capture the enchanting imagery and culture of India and far-away lands, while still providing memorable lessons that transcend any one heritage. Children of all ages will be drawn in by the captivating descriptions of characters and locations, and the mystical presence of Bundharam Kundharam and his unassuming way of working through problems. An excellent addition to any children’s library!

Jill McCrory, RN, JD
Counsel, Advertising & Promotion
Pharmaceutical Company

In the current times, it’s a rarity for me to delve into the realm of children’s stories. However, a recent encounter with an author’s introduction managed to pique my curiosity in an unexpected manner. The very notion of a child nurtured far distant from the vibrant tapestry of India, weaving narratives steeped in its essence, intrigued me deeply. In a realm I had believed exclusive to Indian youngsters, I found myself astounded by the revelation that this author, through her words, had conjured an opulent palace nestled amidst the arid expanse of Rajasthan. Within its walls resided not just regal Maharajas and Maharanis, but even the enigmatic Kamadeva, a figure that might dwell in obscurity for many modern-day Indian children. These tales extending from the Moroccan landscapes to the verdant rainforests of India, harmonize seamlessly, beckoning readers on a transcendent odyssey within the confines of their imagination. Like ancient folklores etched deep in the collective heart, these stories entwine themselves with cherished childhood memories, evoking a sense of timeless familiarity.

I find myself compelled to extend my admiration not only to the author but also to her parents and grandmother. Through their guidance and wisdom, they have nurtured a young mind, steeping it in the very soul of Indian narratives despite her upbringing in an alien environment. I sincerely wish I could do so to my children growing up here in the US– to connect like Rumjhum.

Ryan Dutt
Program Manager/Enterprise Architect
Deloitte Consulting
Motivational Speaker and Coach

These magical stories leap out of this book with brilliant imagery and sentiments, from rolling hills to sparkling rivers, while your heart lurches from despair to joy. These tales are woven around known cultural myths, and yet they contain a fair amount of utterly mesmerizing fantasy. The Bengali translations are simply superb and were lovingly done by Rumjhum’s mother, Dr. Dipa Sarkar…the expressions lucid and still full of awe, demonstrating the lyrical prowess of a great storyteller. The easy flow of the translations never misses an emotion, leaves out a detail, or misses a sentiment. The stories hasten you from one page to the next without pause. An absolute must read for everyone, young and old.

Dr. Sudipa Mitra Kirtley
Professor of Physics and Optical Engineering
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Indiana

The imagery is beyond fantastic and had me mesmerized with each story and with each cast of characters. Rumu has created a world where everything and everyone matters. The beautiful imagery and compassion the characters feel for one another and for all of God’s creatures, big and small, is a message which resonated with me so very much.

If only we could all learn from Rumu’s characters and if only we all had a Bundharam Kundharam to call upon to set us in the right direction!

Judy Acs
President, Barnard-in-Washington
Washington, DC

Rumjhum succeeds in telling wonderful and spellbinding stories in her first ever children’s book. The art work is beautifully done, the stories are real and captivating. And for young readers, the story lines are easy to read and understand. Rumjhum’s storybook is the new Aesop’s Fables.

Colonel Zachary Z. Kinney

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“Bundharam Kundharam” (BK) is one of the newest children’s stories in print.  The book is forty pages long; it has seven wonderful children stories that make up the book.  It costs $20 for the full color version, and was published by Author House in 2015. The BK saga also has a lovely painting that adorns the front of the book.  The painting is the Indian Artist Sakti Burman’s wonderful and colorful depiction of Noah’s Ark.  As a related matter, the book is a children’s story based on Indian Culture from India. 

The author, Dr. Rumjhum Sarkar, is an accomplished and award-winning writer of both law books and law journals.  BK is Rumjhum’s maiden voyage into the world of children’s stories. Rumjhum begins her voyage with the story “Flower Garland Story.”  This short children’s story examines the age old problem of parents wanting to marry off their daughter but repeatedly failing to do so.

In the BK saga, an Indian King and his Queen want their daughter, the Princess, to marry a Prince and to live happily ever after.  The Princess, however, cannot find a Prince that she wants to marry and she, along with her royal parents, are frustrated with, and upset about, this sad state of affairs. The King summons the hero of the story, Bundharam Kundharam (BK) to help solve the problem.  BK is a wise man who is called on in most of the other six stories to help solve seemingly unsolvable problems.  Can BK solve the King’s problem and get the Princess married?  Rumjhum masterfully tells this story and the child reader will learn the sweet outcome.

The second children’s story Rumjhum weaves, which is one of my favorites, is called “Cloud Burst.”  In Indian mythology and lore, rain comes from the sky or rain God, Indra. “Cloud Burst” is a tale about how Indra causes rain to fall from the clouds to the earth.  The story is a sweet story and any child wanting to know how the Indian’s believe rain falls to the earth must read “Cloud Burst.”

In her third children’s story entitled, “The Tiger of the Forest of the Night,” the author explores who the King of the Forest really is.  This story examines the dispute between a Tiger and a Crocodile in The Beautiful Forest (TBF) not far from Calcutta, India.  The two animals in question have claimed the title of King of TBF, but there can be only one King, not two.  The dispute prevents the nearby villagers from being able to enjoy, hunt, and fish in the forest.  The elder of the village must quickly find a solution for the problem. The elder decides to dispatch his monkey to summon the sage and wise man BK to find a solution to the problem.  Will BK agree to help? Can he find a way to end the dispute between the Tiger and the Crocodile?  Rumjhum answers these questions in a marvelous and wonderful way in this her third story.  

BK story number four is entitled, “Moroccan Folk Song.”  In a nutshell, Rumjhum tells the tale about Moroccan Sultan Baba and his three daughters.  The Sultan is a shrewd and greedy man who is happy to avoid wars but craves expanding his empire with gold and other riches.  The Sultan marries off his three daughters to gain more political power, wealth and prestige.  Baba’s third and youngest daughter, Ameera, who arguably is his favorite, is offered in marriage to a Spanish Prince. Ameera is kidnapped by the Dark Masked Rider, El Moro, en route to her Spanish Prince, future husband, and future King.  El Moro demands a King’s ransom for the return of the Princess.  Sultan Baba tries to draft the sage wiseman BK to help him get Ameera back.  Will BK accept this mission? Can or will BK get Ameera back alive? Only Rumjhum can answer these questions. 

The charming fifth children’s story answers the age old question about how and why does the Flounder Fish have two eyes on the same side of his head but no eye on the other side of his head?  The title of story number five, “The Fish’s Curse,” provides a hint for the above question.  Rumjhum proves through this story that she is a master of suspense and a genius.  BK is a new addition to the children’s story genre and a needed breath of fresh air in children’s books.

In story number six, entitled, “The Sari,” Rumjhum takes the child reader deep into the country of India and its culture.  The Sari is a garment worn by women in India and in South Asia.  In the story, Rumjhum weaves a children’s tale that is held together by a Sari.  The thread that holds the story together is a particular sari mentioned in and described by the story.  Why is this sari important? What does the sari look like?  Again, Rumjhum answers the questions and tells a wonderful and tender story along the way. 

The seventh and final story, my favorite, is entitled the, “Indonesian Puppet Theater.” In this, Rumjhum’s omega story, the wise man Bundharam Kundharam is pressed into action once again.  This time, BK is asked to solve a dispute between two famous and influential Indonesian puppets.  Will BK accept the job? Can he solve this dispute?  What is the dispute about? How can or does BK solve the protracted argument between a puppet husband and his wife?  Rumjhum spins with silk a wonderful story and in the end the story leaves the child reader feeling good and funny.      Each of the seven stories is preceded by a beautiful Indian Art Sketch that tracks with, and underscores clearly, the story that follows it. In the final analysis, Rumjhum succeeds in telling a wonderful and desirable children’s story in her first ever children’s book.  The book also contains all of the ingredients that good children’s stories routinely possess.  The art work is wonderful, the stories are real and interesting and the story lines are easy to read and understand.  Rumjhum’s BK book is the new “Aesop’s Fable.”  It is the new “Curious George” and the new “Green Eggs and Ham,” by Dr. Suess, but with an Indian flavor.  I would highly recommend BK to any child or parent who likes children’s stories like “Aesop’s Fable, Curious George, and Green Eggs and Ham,” and I would award four stars out of five to Rumjhum’s wonderful, first, and memorable, children’s storybook.

This book would be a welcomed addition to the collection of multi-cultural books in a public library, a sought after choice in the diversity basket of an intermediate classroom, or even on the bookshelf of a younger child’s bedroom to be used for a bedtime story.

Suzanne Jewell

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“Bundharam Kundharam” is a collection of seven unique stories with a variety of styles of writing including – free verse, dialogue, folktale and fairytale. Each story is accompanied by a colorful illustration.

This book would be a welcomed addition to the collection of multi-cultural books in a public library, a sought after choice in the diversity basket of an intermediate classroom, or even on the bookshelf of a younger child’s bedroom to be used for a bedtime story. Grandparents or aunties would delight in sharing a tale-a-day as treat for their special grandchild, niece or nephew. The stories lend themselves to be read aloud for fullest enjoyment. Many listeners would most likely discover a favorite and ask to hear it again and again.

My favorite story was “The Tiger of the Forest of the Night.” Several phrases “…the strange, screeching voice of the jungle” and “no villager dares to spend the night in the jungle” draw the reader right into the story. These and other sections made me want to read more while asking, “Why?” You soon find out that both the crocodile and tiger are feared for different reasons. The dialogue is punctuated with words that evoke pictures of the two creatures’ banter (“the tiger roared furiously” and “snapped the crocodile”). The dispute is solved with somewhat of a surprise ending, which I will not reveal. Bundharam Kundharam gathers all the animals of the Beautiful Rain Forest together with Prince Tiger and Lord Crocodile. The tale ends happily and peacefully. Good thoughts to both ponder and sleep on!

Reviewed by Suzanne Jewell

PreK – grade 5 public school teacher and reading specialist for 49 years

(Gramma to Richard, Theodore, and Elliott, ages 8, 5, and 3)