Rating: *** 3
Urmi Rahman, photographs by Prodeepta Das,
B is for Bangladesh
Frances Lincoln, 2009.
This beautifully produced alphabet book gives us a snapshot of things Bangladeshi (literally – photographs are used throughout) as remembered fondly by the author, Urmi Rahman. A note from her at the front of the book gives us a brief description of her beloved motherland, with a couple of simple maps alongside.
Each page features a framed photograph by Prodeepta Das illustrating whatever has been chosen for each letter of the alphabet along with a description: ‘Dd is for Dhaka, the country’s capital city. Dhaka has some beautiful buildings, old and new. The most striking modern building…’ Colour and pattern are simply and effectively used in borders, adding and not detracting form the overall visual impact of each page.
More than half the words used for the alphabet are from Bangla and transliterated into English, for instance: ‘Aa is for Ankhee – eyes. Mothers decorate their children’s eyes with kohl…’ and ‘Ee is for Ektara, a one-stringed musical instrument…’
A glossary of these words from Bangla, along with some pronunciation guidance would be a useful addition to this title, but all in all, this is a well thought out book with great visual appeal and a well-written text that matches the photographic account of the author’s beloved country.
Guide to the rating system:
***** 5 stars, unmissable
**** 4 stars, very good
*** 3 stars, good
** 2 stars, fair
* 1 star, poor