Review of Honeydew, Part I
I didn't like
The Last Bargain by Rabindranath Tagore
It is very difficult to understand. It is a story about a poor man who wanted him to be hired. The king with his power, the man with the bag full of gold and the lady with a smile could not hire him but a child was able to hire him with nothing. I feel it tells a simple thing in a very difficult way. Moral: Freedom is more important than power, money and beauty.
When I set out for Lyonnesse by Thomas Hardy
This poem is like meaningless maze. The poem tells a simple story that the poet went to a placed called Lyonnesse. When he returned from Lyonnesse, a magical glow was there in his eyes. It seems that something magical has happened to him there. Moral: Self realisation is magical.
I did not find the prose lessons very interesting. There is a moral in all the lessons but the moral is not presented in an interesting way. The plot is too simplistic; and there is lukewarm suspense.
~~~Introduction to My Book Review~~~
When I was in Class VIII, I found my English textbook very interesting; and I decided to review my Class VIII English textbook, so that, people may know that a textbook is not always boring.
Name of the book: Honeydew (English textbook for Class VIII)
Name of the publisher: National Council of Educational Research and Traning (NCERT), New Delhi, India
Edition: First Edition, February 2008
Number of Pages: 140
Price: Rs 30/-
There are many chapters in this book. I liked all the stories, articles and poems but a few really captivated me. They are as folows:
Bepin Choudhury's Lapse of Memory
A short story written by Satyajit Ray
The Last Bargain
A poem written by Rabindranath Tagore
The School Boy
A poem written by William Blake
The Great Stone Face I
A short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Great Stone Face II
A short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne
My view of Honeydew
Cover of Book
I liked the picture on the cover page because the colour combination of Chocolate, Brown and Cream is really good.
About the Fundamental Duties
The Fundamental Duties page given after the Contents page is very important as all the citizens of tomorrow must know what their duties are towards their mother land.
Arrangement of the chapters and poems in the book
I like the order in which the lessons are arranged because after a story there is a poem. It breaks the monotony by involving variety and as William Shakespeare has aptly said – “Variety is the spice of life.” The lessons are nicely arranged
The print quality is not good as in most of the books writings were faded and pictures are hazy and smudged.
Quality of pages
The quality of the pages is good. They don’t get torn easily.
The quality of binding is not so good because the pages easily come out; and if we glue one page then some other page comes out.
The quality of pictures are not good because most of them are faded or look like there are two layers of pictures, one over the other.
The word meanings on the margin and at the end of the chapters are very useful. But there aren’t many word meanings. If there are more word meanings then it would have been much better.
There are many questions at the end of every lesson which are divided into four parts: Comprehension check; Working with the text; Working with language; and speaking and writing. In Comprehension Check the answers to the questions are from inside the chapters. In Working with the text we have to make ourselves the answers to the questions. Working with the language is the most interesting because it is related to grammar. In Speaking and writing we have to continue the story by ourselves and some of the topics in this section are very debatable. But at the end of the poems only Working with the poem is given. Instead of having the exercises at the end of the lesson, if there were any other books for the exercises, then it would have been much better.
There are some chapters such as ‘The Tsunami’, ‘The Summit Within’, ‘Geography Lesson’ and ‘Glimpses of the Past’ which taught us about other subjects like Disaster Management, Geography and History. There are many questions in Disaster Management, Geography and History book which are related to the chapters in our English textbook. Studying of these chapters helped us a lot because some questions in Disaster Management, Geography and History which came in our final examination, we had learnt while going through our English textbook.
Comic Strip chapters
There is only one comic strip chapter, ‘The Glimpses of the Past’. There should have been more comic strips because students find it easier to understand which person is who and what his dialogue is. Most of the students don’t like History but after going through the comic strip chapter we found out that many students understood it easily.
The facts/extra information given at the end of every chapter are indeed very interesting because after having a class of boring questions and answers it was really fun reading those extra information.
I loved these lessons
“The Ant and the Cricket” by Aesop
It’s a story of a lazy Cricket and a hard working Ant. The Cricket sang in the summer and spring and when the winter came he came to know there is nothing to eat in his cupboard. Due to starvation he asked an Ant for help by asking for some eatables and a shelter for a night, but the Ant refused by saying that they never borrow, they never lend. Moral-We should never be lazy and should not depend on others but oneself. This poem tells us how the cricket suffered because of its laziness. The ant and the Cricket are symbolic of two types of men - one diligent and another careless and irresponsible. It is a fable. A fable is a story where the characters are animals. This reminds us of the famous Indian collection of fables known as ‘Panchatantra’.
“The School Boy” by William Blake
It’s a poem which tells us how a student is unhappy when he is not given the type of freedom he wants. He doesn’t want to go to school but he is forced to do so. The best thing about the poem is that I can associate myself with that boy because in the school I have to do many things which I do not like. I want to play outside in the sun but six days in a week I have to pass the best part of the day seating inside the four walls of the classroom. We do have games periods but still there also the primary concern is discipline and that takes the charm out of the games period. Further I also do not find all the subjects equally interesting. Moral- Freedom is the most important thing. This poem tells us if freedom is not given then everything else loses meaning and life becomes sad.
Why I liked the lessons?
The Ant and the Cricket tells us about the importance of hard work; and The School Boy points out that all work and no play will make us dull. So, there should be a balance between work and play; and a life with such a balance is a life worth living.
The Ant and the Cricket
The poem is adapted from Aesop's Fables. In the audio version the cricket is called a grasshopper and it is not an exact audio version of the poem in the text book. Words differ but it tells the same story. The audio version is uploaded from the following link-
File Type: Mp3 Audio File: 1.48 M
The School Boy
This is a poem written by William Blake. The audio version of the poem was downloaded from the following link-
File Type: Mp3 Audio File: 1.82 M
Cover page design
It is not at all interesting. Sometimes the design in the cover page looks like a Jalebi ( Indian Sweet) and at other times it looks like a tape worm.
Lessons I loved
I think “The Ant and the Cricket” and “The School Boy” are the best lessons in this book.
Lessons I didn't like
I found the poems, The Last Bargain by Rabindranath Tagore and When I set out for Lyonnesse by Thomas Hardy, very boring. I also didn't find the prose very interesting.
Pictures inside the book
Very bright colours are used in most of the pictures in my book, and therefore, the pictures look hazy. However in some other books, the colour and contrast is alright. There should be uniformity in the use of colour in the pictures in all the books.
End of the Lesson Exercise
This book contained many Questions grouped under different headings, such as, Comprehension Check, Working with the Text/Poem, Working with Language, Speaking and Writing. I liked most Speaking and Writing, and also the puzzles and jokes at the end of the exercises. Glossary part is also good but some more word meanings should have been given.
The book was available at the start of the session but only a few books. Students had to go every day after the school hours to check whether the book has come in the book stall or not. Most of the students had to order the books from Delhi or from other big cities and that was very problematic especially for students coming from poor families.
It is good because it is not a hardback but still the pages do not come lose unlike the Class IX and Class X English Text Book.
It is not costly because it costs only Rs 30 whereas books from other publishers cost almost thrice that amount.
Over all Quality
It is alright.