The Caterpillar Who Went On A Diet and Other Stories is a collection of 14 humorous stories by Ranjit Lal. The characters are all fascinating and funny insects.
The first story The Caterpillar Who Went On A Diet is about Nimbu, a fat caterpillar, who accidentally steps on a skinny stick insect called Ms Twiggy. Ms. Twiggy calls Nimbu a fatso and a glutton. Although Nimbu does not know what ‘fat’ and ‘diet’ mean, she decides to follow Twiggy’s advice and go on a diet.
Cheeni Chor’s Secret Sweet Dish is a story about an ant who discovers a refrigerator stuffed with goodies and gorges herself sick, until…..until trouble comes her way.
Then there’s Dung Beetle Dhamaka, an incredibly hilarious story about dung beetles who like to party. The Great Cockroach Caper is about a cockroach trying to woo his lady love.
Writer Ranjit Lal is an expert on birds and animals. He is a great storyteller and his rollicking stories keep readers in splits. The book can be enjoyed by both children and adults. The illustrations by Rahul Dutta are striking.
Lal’s first story for children was That Summer at Kalagarh. Lal’s detective series, Bossman Adventures, is as popular as his insect stories. His books for adults include The Crow Chronicles and The Life and Times of Altu Faltoo.
“Gosh, I’m sorry,”apologized Nimbu, glancing around and hoping that no one would see her ostensibly talking to a twig. “I er..didn’t know you were there. You look so much like a twig.” And added in an eager, friendly tone, “Hi, I’m Nimbu, by the way.”
The spindly creature stalked up to her, its eyes glittering. “Of course, I look like a twig darling,” she chimed in silvery tones. “I am a stick insect, aren’t I? My name is Ms Twiggy.” She eyed the caterpillar speculatively and Nimbu gave a little shiver.
“Pleased to meet you,” she spluttered, wishing she could get away from this strange, spindly creature.
Ms. Twiggy, as she called herself, rocked back and forth thoughtfully on her long spindly legs. “You know, my dear,” she said in a kinder voice. “You really ought to go on a diet. Then, when you will trample all over us, we won’t fall off the bush.”
“I’m sorry,” said Nimbu again, and then, curiosity getting the better of her desire to flee, “What’s a diet?”
Ms. Twiggy emitted a short, twinkling laugh and hid her mouth behind a bony wrist. “Oh I’m so sorry. I should have known. Caterpillars wouldn’t know what diets are.”
“Well, what are they?”
“They involve restrictions on what and how much you can eat.”
“Because if you eat too much, and all the wrong things you get fat.”