The Flute

The Flute
Age Group: 4-7
Series: Chapter Books
Illustrator: Pulak Biswas
Publisher: Tradewind Books
Publication Year: arch 2012
ISBN: 9781896580579


Her parents swept away by a catastrophic flood, Chandra finds solace in her mother’s magic flute. Set in India, The Flute is an enchanting tale of the power of hope and the resilience of the human spirit.


Finalist for the Shinning Willow Award 2012
*Selected for the Year’s Best Picture Book 2011 by Resource Links Magazine
*Selected as Best of 2012 by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre
*Selected for the Cooperative Children’s Book Centre’s Choices 2013.


“Without doubt this is an exceptional book. Set in India, it reads like a traditional folk tale, with magic in the air. The stunning stylised illustrations, mainly in stark black and white with slashes of red and blue, act as magnets to draw you into the tale. And it is a harrowing story of loss: a young girl’s parents are carried away in a great flood, then she is taken in by reluctant relatives only to be ill-treated, like many a girl before her in more familiar fairy stories.”

School Librarian, March 2012


“The black and white illustrations are contrasted sharply with vivid splashes of primary colours – red for Chandra’s sari, blue for the river, and a dash of yellow representing the sun and the moon. The illustrations are simplistic and the smudgy black textures of the charcoal black figures have the appearance of woodcuts or engravings as they stand out against a stark grey/white background.”

Outside In World


“This is an engrossing story, very well written in a style that evokes its setting and context and more crucially, its emotive content. The question it may raise among young readers are relevant to real life events they may hear of in the news, so the story provides a useful stimulus for considered and sensitive discussion. The unusual style of these illustrations is very well matched to this thought provoking tale.”

Books for Keeps


“Gilmore knows how to tell a compelling tale and make a picture book story sing…Stylized and simple almost to the point of starkness, the images by celebrated New Delhi illustrator Pulak Biswas effectively convey the elemental nature of the story.”

Quill & Quire


“Rachna Gilmore’s enchanting story of hope and Pulak Biswas’ simple east Asian rural scenes flow with depth and grace . . . This inspiring book is sure to be a permanent fixture in an library and one to be handed down from generation to generation.”

Resource Links


The Flute is ornamented and further interpreted with stunning black and white paintings with vivid splashes of red for Chandra’s dress, blue for the river, and yellow for the overlooking moon. This author/illustrator team is first class and deserves further high awards for artistry, authenticity and design.”

Midwest Book Review


“Chandra is a strong yet realistically vulnerable figure who withstands adversity without appearing too saintly, while the magic that saves her offers some compensation for the misfortune she has suffered.”

Publishers Weekly Children’s Review


“Chandra is a resilient character who overcomes many obstacles, from the destructive forces of nature to human unkindness. The healing power of music is a central theme, and there are other well-crafted, recurring images such as the moon and shadows. Pulak Biswas is one of India’s most well-known illustrators. His striking artwork has the appearance of woodcuts or engravings. The mainly blakc and white illustrations have splashes of deep blue, crimson and yellow.

With the many recent disasters around the world in everyone’s thoughts, this lyrically written book speaks of ‘hope and enduring strength.’ ”

CM Magazine


“Without doubt this is an exceptional book–a welcome addition to any classroom collection. Set in India, it reads like a traditional folk tale, with magic in the air. The stunning stylised illustrations … act as magnets to draw you into the tale.”

School Librarian journal


“The story is well told, lyrical, and evocative, exploring themes of hope, loss, and healing in creative ways. The unique style of artist Pulak Biswas, one of India’s most accomplished illustrators, also serves to create mood by using stark black and white images contrasted with only splashes of primary colours. The Flute lends itself to all kinds of extension activities, from exploring imagery and symbolism, to discussing the healing power of music. It is refreshing to see a story about an Indian girl overcoming her very real world struggles/life circumstances.” – Books My Boys Love


“The story reads like a folktale, and the striking, somewhat stylized artwork fits that tone. Despite its magical elements, this is really a story of hope and resilience in the face of hardship and loss.” – Student Library Journal


“The illustrations are stylized, with a flat, blocky appearance and a reliance on a single hue (dark brownish black) that makes them resemble prints; smudgy textures and additional colors (only one or two elements per spread) add interest.” – Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

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