When Dad showed me the Universe #PictureBookReview 1

One day Dad said he thought I was old

enough for him to show me the universe.

“Where is it?” I asked

“Not too far,” he said.

Story –

This is a story told by a little boy whose father takes him to see the universe one evening after calling it a day at his dental clinic. Once ensuring they are warm enough to go out, they walk around the neighbourhood with the boy quizzing his father about the universe all through the way. They finally reach on a small hill outside the town where people usually walked their dogs. When the father tells the son “This is it” and asks him to see around, the boy looks around and is taken by the beauty of the universe around him in the form of a snail creeping on a stone, a blade of grass swaying in the wind and a flower named thistle.

His father asks him to look up at the sky instead of looking down. The boy discovers thousands of stars burning in the sky which, to him, seemed like specks of dust in the living room in the sunlight. His dad tells him the names of the stars – Little Bear, Scorpion, The Big Dog etc, and how calm it makes one feel because it is so big that everything else seems small. Just then the father goes quiet. He tries to figure out the mystery about the stinky smell coming from the ground beneath. With the boy solving the mystery, the father’s enthusiasm veers of and they return home. At home, the mother asks the boy how was the universe to which he replies beautiful and funny.

What appealed to me?

  1. The father-son bonding. The boy trusts his father completely and the father is earnest in wanting his son to have an experience matching his own.
  2. The father’s profound thoughts about the universe.
  3. The fact that there can be several interpretations based upon this story like – The universe can be as close to us as it can be far. It can entail the smallest of objects as well as the vast night sky. It can be comprised of a fewer things as well as the numerous stars and other heavenly bodies. Also, sometimes, while we are invested in looking up at the bigger picture, it is also important to have a look down because we never know what we step upon.

What appealed to  D?

  1. He loved the father figure in the story and the chit-chat between the father-son duo.
  2. Getting to know a few facts about the universe.
  3. The funny stinky ending. While the adult in me gaped at the abrupt ending to the magical experience, D enjoyed it. The ending makes the book interesting and enjoyable for the kids.
  4. The lovely illustrations. You can have a quick glance at the book here.

What D questioned?

  1. The meaning of the word ‘Solemnly’ from the story.
  2. Why did they have to go out of the town to look at the stars for stars can be seen from everywhere?

An Observation

An adult and a child approach things in a manner different from each other. Instead of calling the boy’s own contemplation of the universe on the ground as silly, the parent in me  feels it would have been more appropriate to appreciate his observation before turning his gaze upwards to the sky. Because, later when the boy is not able to see the stars in the same way as his father and wants to say no, he instead agrees since he does not want to be called silly again.

Barring this one concern, this book scores high on creativity on account of the blending of philosophy and humour, suited for both adults and children alike, and illustrations by the Astrid Lindgren prize winner Eva Eriksson.

Author: Ulf Stark

Illustrator: Eva Eriksson

Release Year :

Swedish Edition: First published in 1998

English Edition: First Published in 2015

Publisher: Bonnier Carlsen (Sweden) / Gecko Press (USA)

Age group: 4 and up

Available on: Amazon India


This book is a part of my own collection and was bought from a local bookstore.

Linking this post with Literacy Musings Mondays #LMM


  1. Loved the style you chose to review this in, stating what appealed to you and D, and what questions he asked. Looking forward to reading more from you.


    1. Thank you so much Shantala for the encouragement. I thought since this is about children’s books, it would be better to have a child’s perspective too.


  2. A very good first review, Anamika!

    The use of the excerpt is perfectly done, as it draws the reader in to read more of the review. And your analysis of the story from the point of view of a parent and D is spot on. I’m sure many parents will benefit from reading this detailed review.

    Kudos, and all the best ❤


  3. This is a good niche for you Anamika. There are hardly any blogs for children’s books, especially in India. And we need to have more of them. I love the way you reviewed as per your perspective and your son’s. The blog layout looks good too.


    1. Thank you Lata. It is true that there are only a few blogs in India who are into reviewing children’s books and this is a highly niche area. I am keeping my fingers crossed.


  4. Well-structured review with interesting points raised, Anamika. Just one thing – I would like it more if you add pictures in the text itself rather than asking the reader to click on another link.


    1. Thank you Sunaina. During my research for this blog, I did not see usage of pictures from the books on the various reviewers’ blogs and sites. Taking it to be the norm, I refrained from adding the pictures to this post, but gave the link on the publisher’s site for a quick glimpse. Let me see if I can get any inputs about the same in other forums.


  5. I loved the format of the review. Needless to say, I’m going to follow this blog more and more as M grows up. Do some posts on which books to start with for kids, please. I would love to get some direction on that.

    All the best and congratulations 🙂


    1. Thank you Nabanita. To tell you the truth, when I conceived the idea behind this blog, I had you and M in my mind because you are among the few people who has always taken keen interest in my book posts. I have plans to do review posts for all types of books, right from the toddler age to 6-7 years of age. You will not be disappointed, I can promise 🙂


  6. Wow! Loved everything about your blog, Anamika, esp this space where we type our comments and mail them to you! Unique, indeed!
    Also liked your review of the book. I remember reading such books years ago as well as now, with the nephew, and enjoying them thoroughly!
    Wish you the bestest, dear friend!


    1. Thanks a lot Shilpa.
      For this blog theme – my search for the appropriate theme ended with this theme primarily because of the look of the comment box. It takes one back in time. Nostalgia. I am delighted that you are the only one who pointed this out. This is what connection is 🙂


  7. Loved the review Anamika. And I can see how this blog is going to be a one-of-a-kind space for kids who enjoy reading or parents who would like to introduce them into reading! The review format was very clear and detailed keeping in mind the kid and the parent both. You did the best thing by carving out a niche area, with this blog, totally out of your love for children’s books! My best wishes are with you! This will definitely be one blog that I will be following and recommending highly to everyone who enquires me about good books for children to read 🙂


  8. Congratulations on this lovely new blog. It’s a great idea to have a a children’s bookshelf that grows with the child . And you are right about the wisdom of toddler books. They really are thought provoking ….good luck with this new blog but what happens with The BEspectacled mom?


    1. Thank you Sunita. It isn’t a surprise that you understand how I think about a children’s bookshelf that grows with the child. The Bespectacled Mother is going nowhere. It is here to stay for a long long time. Mondays, as always, are for the mom and Thursdays are going to be for the books from her yellow book shelf 🙂


  9. Great review of a book that encourages one to think deeper about life around us and our purpose. Thanks for sharing on the #LMMLinkup this week.


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