Rini and Ruby are sisters.
They get mad at each other all the time,
but they love each other.
Things get complicated when a cheesecake disappears…
Author – Sudesna Ghosh
Release Year – 2017
Age Group – 7 – 14
Available on – Amazon India
The Cheesecake Thief and Other Stories book is a collection of 3 short stories based in a town named Golepur in West Bengal, India. The stories are told alternately by 2 kid sisters – Rini and Ruby. Rini is the older one and Ruby is the younger one.
Story #1 – The Cheesecake thief
Ruby loves eating cheesecakes. Rini loves baking them. It happens when Rini is baking a cheesecake at school for a baking competition, it gets stolen from right under everyone’s noses while it is kept aside for cooling down. Not a soul knows who is the culprit. Rini blames Ruby for stealing the cake because she knew Ruby could go to any extent for a cheesecake. However, Ruby is not the thief and being wrongly blamed, she resolves to catch the thief herself.
In the process, she starts with sniffing around herself. Then she employs the services of the smartest neighbourhood stray dog, Lallu, who is supposedly an expert at sniffing out lost stuff. When this does not work, the local newspaper office’s services are hired.
In the end, was she able to find out the thief? Or whether she was really the one who had stolen the cheesecake and just diverting people’s attention with her gimmicks?
Story #2 – Home Alone Together
One fine sunny day, Rini and Ruby are left alone at home when their parents had to go out suddenly for an emergency. Rini, unable to stand her sister, spends most of the day to herself in her room while Ruby reads her books in the other room. The day later turns stormy with sounds of loud thunder. Rini steps out after a long time and gets petrified when she does not find Ruby anywhere. After a great deal of searching and feeling guilty for neglecting her small sister, she finds her in a distraught state hiding in a cabinet.
What had happened to Ruby? Did the 2 sisters come closer after this episode?
Story #3 – RiRu joins the family
While Ruby is wondering about happiness and why is she different from other children, a random dream leads Ruby to hear the meows of a cat one night. A cat lands up on their doorstep while the world is sleeping. She and her family take the cat in and adopt it as a pet. The girl’s name it RiRu. What follows is the girls’, especially Ruby’s, growing understanding of the nuances of tending to a pet cat. There is a pet sharing framework devised by their mother for the girls which of course has funny incidents owing to the never-ceasing sibling rivalry. The sisters come together when RiRu disappears one night when it was Ruby’s turn to keep it in her room.
Was RiRu found? Or did it go away just like the night it had suddenly appeared?
My Review –
What worked for me –
- Both Rini and Ruby, though they are kids, are quite strong characters. The distinctness in their personalities comes out clearly in the stories. It is not clear how old both of them are exactly or in which class they are, but the fact that Rini is in a perpetual state of being irritated and annoyed gives an idea of her being a teenager. Ruby is the smart one and appears to be more sorted. She is the reason for most of the humour and funny anecdotes and there are plenty of such anecdotes to keep the reader constantly in splits.
- There are a few nuggets of wisdom hidden in the stories which might help in shaping up the minds of the young readers. For example –“Being different is not easy, Ruby. People have trouble understanding you BUT what is important is that YOU are happy.”
- The theme of all the 3 stories is detective in nature with something or someone getting lost in each of them and thus appropriate for the curious and adventurous little minds. It should be fun watching them donning the imaginary Sherlock Holmes cap and thinking who, how and where with every twist and turn.
- Stories for children should be light, amusing and enjoyable. This book has tons of laughter-inducing moments weaved into simple plots and this keeps the interest alive and kicking.
What did not work for me –
There is a lot of self-talk going on in Rini’s and Ruby’s minds which is fine since it gives us a peek into their personalities and thought process, yet I felt it went slightly overboard and repetitive in terms of conveying the message. A cut here and there would not have affected the character building or the overall story.
I loved all the 3 stories although ‘RiRu joins the family’ is my favourite. It is the perfect story to wrap up the book in this 3 story collection. It made me want to go back to the beginning once again and start the book all over again. And I did this because I did not feel like severing my ties with the girls. I am sure kids will definitely take a liking for this book. D will surely do. The only hitch is this book is available in Kindle form whereas this book will work best for children in a paperback edition with a few funky illustrations.
I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.