Chester the Superior Dog Goes to India by Colin Todhunter
Chester is a rather superior, know-it-all who decides to take a trip around India. He is a 12 centimeter-long stuffed dog and a bit of a genius and a hypochondriac. He is also very cute but can be a rather large pain in the neck at times. Chester suffers from a series of ludicrous attention seeking ailments, including an itchy eyeball (it somehow itches on the inside), a strained nostril and an aching claw. Moaning and groaning about the world in general is one of Chester’s many talents along with finding too many things in life utterly repugnant and of course being extremely superior. Chester embarks on various wacky adventures while in India and provides the reader with a genuine flavour of the subcontinent. He experiences wild and wonderful rides on trains and rickshaws, gets terribly ill, attempts to become a dancer, tries to “find himself” and at some stage becomes worshipped by westerners in search of inner peace. To top it all, he is even stolen at one stage and forced to embark on a world tour with his kidnappers. You are guaranteed to fall in love at least once in 2008: with Chester the superior but highly lovable dog!
Illustrated by Rachel Mindrup
Publisher: Aaspirations Publishing Inc.
In stores soon
Here it is, the new-age Calvin & Hobbes. This time it’s Colin & Chester. Travel-writer Colin Todhunter takes his travelogue several steps further along with his canine companion, transferring his observations, wonder, amusement and angst to the befuddled intellectualism of Chester, a stuffed dog, who is a Britisher of Chinese origin. Everything – from the long flight in to the typically suicidal streets of Delhi, the murderous mosquitoes and the haunting cry of “Chai!” on railway platforms, and yes, the autorickshaws – strikes a chord. It is a fun way to travel, and Colin uses his “talking” dog as an alter-ego, sounding board and scapegoat as he reacts to the colourful, exasperating sights he is inundated with. The book unfolds in short crisp chapters, chunks of experience that never fail to animate the stuffed dog, very much like a puppet reacting from the lap of an innocent-looking puppeteer. Colin Todhunter has mastered the art of combining the sublime and the ridiculous. (For instance, Chester abandons “the idea of finding his inner-dog after a bout of dysentery”.) There is nothing that he leaves untouched. A rollicking adventure in an interesting land, amusingly wrapped up in fantasy.
Shree Kumar Varma, poet, author and playwright
Colin Todhunter is the other kind of tourist. During his many trips to India, he has seen the good, bad and the ugly side of India. He has travelled in slow trains, rickety buses, and stayed in seedy hotels. Chester the superior dog is looking at India through Colin’s eyes , but obviously has a mind of his own. The result is a book which is an affectionate but no holds barred look at India.
Sushila Ravindranath, Editor of the New Sunday Express (New Indian Express on Sunday)