Review of Tata and the Big Bad Bull by Roland Watson-Grant

Publisher: CaribbeanReads

Publication date: 31 May, 2018

At first glance, it would seem that Tata and the Big Bad Bull is just a children’s tale about a boy and a bull. That would be too simple for an author who has cut his teeth on overcoming challenges.

Juleus Ghunta boldly steps over the fences of genre, ignoring gatekeepers much like Tata, his relentless protagonist. Of course, children will easily relate to a Caribbean boy living with his Grandmother in an idyllic setting populated with people and fantastic animals with names like Owl Eugene and Nanny Dean. But upon close inspection one might find, tucked between the lines of Tata and the Big Bad Bull, some timely commentary on the challenges our children face on a daily basis and solutions that often go unmentioned. However, Ghunta’s commentary on a modern-day playground issue is skilfully interwoven into the tale and does not overtake the fact that Tata and the Big Bad Bull is fun ride from start to finish with constant repetition to rev up a child’s urge to read out loud.

The Caribbean is where the story takes place. However, this is a classic, universal tale even though one wishes there were more quirky Caribbean characters of feather and fur, speaking even short lines of dialect. Not to worry. Ann Cathrine Loo’s bold, brilliantly rendered pictures vividly create a well–loved local setting which will immerse young readers in Tata’s experience. Welcome to the watercolour West Indian world of Pellken.

Roland Watson–Grant, author of Sketcher

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