Sleepytime Tales with Coco Comma: Book Review

This book has four stories by Sonia Mehta, about a girl called Coco Comma, who is a grammar Nazi. The recommended age for readers is above five years. I have twins who are 4.7 years old, and they enjoyed it too. I loved how Coco looks, with commas for eyes! The illustrator Sunayna Rai has done a great job.

The first story in the collection is ‘Coco Gets the Rhyming Bug.’ Coco’s characteristic is her habit of correcting the grammar of everyone she meets, which naturally makes them impatient. A it’s not can but may correction reminded me of my schooldays, when my teacher would explain that “You can go to the bathroom, but you may not.”

Kids love funny stories, and Coco Comma would be right up their street. There’s a large cast of characters, from the twins Tilly and Trixie, to Sunny, Coco’s best friend, to Mr. Tuktuk, Coco’s bete noire. I enjoyed the rhymes in this story, but the end was a bit of a letdown logic wise.

The next story is ‘The Alliteration Alley.’ It’s a fun way to introduce children to the magic of alliteration. Kids this age are like sponges, and can absorb whatever you teach them. My kids were quick to embrace the new word. Coco’s quick thinking is showcased in this story.

The third story, ‘The Idiom Muddle,’ also subtly introduces children to the often puzzling but colourful world of idioms.

The final story is ‘Coco and the Alphabet Tree’ is where Coco meets her match. Synonyms and antonyms are introduced here. This is also the most story like of the four stories. The other three are mostly vehicles for introducing literary devices.

The language is often Anglicised, with words like ‘Toodles!’ I would have liked a more Indian flavour. For instance, the twins could have Indian names. There are enough children’s books out there by foreign authors with English names. Kids books with Indian names would help our children imagine themselves at the protagonists better. Even the suburban setting shown in the book is Western. Highrises, dirty streets – these are closer to India.

Coco Comma was right up my street, as I too love English. I corrected people in my head though as a kid. Now I correct my kids, otherwise how will they know?

The other books in the Sleepytime Tales series are also by the same author and have Nico Numero, Curious Curie, Vicky Voyager, and Eppy Explorer. Sonia Mehta conceptualized the Bournvita Quiz Contest (BQC) for TV, and she also has a children’s content company, Quadrum. That took me back to my school days – I had made it to the finals of BQC one year, going to Mumbai for the shoot with my teammate. It was great exposure.

Sleepytime Tales with Coco Comma is priced at Rs. 250 and has 78 pages. Publisher: Penguin. There’s also an ebook available.

I give it 4 stars. Buy it on Amazon.

This review is powered by Blogchatter Book Review Program.

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1 Response

  1. Marietta Pereira says:

    Good review. I would love to read the book myself.

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