Bergers Book Reviews

Viku and the Ivory Thieves

Viku and the Ivory Thieves
Author: Debu Majumdar
Illustrator: Lynn Wolfe
Publisher: Bo-Tree House
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-9832227-3-6
Pages: 52
Price: $12.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

In this sequel to Viku and the Elephant and Viku to the Rescue, Viku and his elephant friend, Haatee, are back again to protect the forest. Although two of the ivory thieves have been stranded on an island surrounded by crocodiles, some are still on the loose. With the help of the police, all of the poachers are rounded up and sent to prison.

But the dangers to the elephants and the forest continue, and Viku and the police must step up their efforts to protect them. When an evil scheme is uncovered, Viku and Haatee help to thwart it. One of the ivory thieves has now completely reformed and assists them in their efforts.

The forces of good and evil are portrayed very strongly in this series, with good always triumphing over evil. And in Viku and the Ivory Thieves, evil is even transformed to goodness. Kids will cheer for Viku and Haatee, wanting to see them succeed in stopping the thieves once again. I highly recommend this series for the positive values demonstrated.

Debu Majumdar shared his thoughts with us in an interview. Please be sure to read what he has to say!

Reviewer: Alice Berger

April 16, 2014 Posted by | children | 1 Comment

Viku Goes to School

Viku Goes to School
Author: Debu Majumdar
Illustrator: Arijit Shil
Publisher: Bo-Tree House
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-9832227-6-7
Pages: 70
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Viku’s parents want to send him to school so he can have a better future. Viku is sad because he has to walk to school, and he won’t have time to spend with Haatee, his elephant friend. One day Haatee shows Viku a shortcut through the forest to the school, so Viku can ride there every day. But one of his classmates, Dooshtoo, doesn’t like Viku, and he wants to hurt Haatee. Viku will need to protect his friend, but how?

In the next scenario, villagers visit Viku with a serious problem. Elephants are destroying their crops and they don’t know how to stop them without killing them. Can Viku help the villagers and the elephants?

Viku is a great role model for kids as he demonstrates how to handle the bully, Dooshtoo, who is making his life difficult. And he shows good judgment and maturity in handling the elephant problem.  I highly recommend this series, which also includes Viku and the Elephant, Viku to the Rescue , and Viku and the Ivory Thieves.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Debu Majumdar shared his thoughts with us in an interview. Please be sure to read what he has to say!

December 14, 2015 Posted by | children | Leave a comment

N – Z


Naked in 30 Days: A One-Month Guide to Getting Your Body, Mind and Spirit in Shape

Nana’s Getting Married

Nanise’:  A Navajo Herbal

The Natural Laws of Good Luck

Nature Recycles – How About You?

Neurotic November


Never Without You… Again

A New Name For Worthless:  A Hero Is Born

The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before the Gingerbread Man’s Christmas

The Night Before the Little Mermaid’s Christmas

The Night Before the Three Bears’ Christmas

The Night Before the Three Pigs’ Christmas

Night Night, Sleepytown

Night of the Living Worms

The Night Santa Got Lost:  How NORAD Saved Christmas

The Night Sky

Night Terrors

Nine Ways God Always Speaks

Noah and the Search Dogs

Noah’s Ark:  Ancient Accounts and New Discoveries

Noodlehead Nightmares

No Ordinary Owl (S.A.V.E. Squad: Book 4)

Nora’s Ark

Norma Jean’s Sun

Nostromo the Dwarf

Notebook Doodles Amazing Me!

Not in the Club

The Not So Wicked, Wicked Witch!

Not the Quitting Kind


Now You See It

No Yeti Yet

Number Cross Puzzles


Off to Class

Oh Where, Oh Where Is My Swallowtail?

The Oldest Bedtime Story Ever (Bible Beautiful)

On Admiration

On the Edge With Coolhead Luke

On the Move:  Mass Migrations

Oscar Did It!

Otter Lee Brave

Our Purpose:  the Nobel Peace Prize Lecture 2007

Ours for a Season

Our Teacher Is a Vampire and Other (Not) True Stories

The Outlandish Adventures of Liberty Aimes

Outrageous October

Owlegories: The Sun, The Seed, The Water


P Is For Please

Paint by Sticker Kids: Beautiful Bugs

The Painter From Shanghai

Paleo Fitness

Panthers Play for Keeps

Partnering With Nature

Passenger on the Pearl:  The True Story of Emily Edmonson’s Flight from Slavery

The Path of Centering Prayer

Patulous the Different Caterpillar

Paw Patrol: Rescue Time

Paws, Claws, Hands, and Feet

The Peaceable Forest:  India’s Tale of Kindness to Animals

Peanuts (Kohl’s Cares for Kids)

Peeper Has a Fever

Pemba Sherpa

People Are Idiots and I Can Prove It!

Perfectly Unique

The Perfumed Garden

Pet Shop Heroes

Phantom Limb


Picturing the ABCs at the Norton Simon Museum

Piggy Nation:  A Day at Work With Dad

Pigs in Love

Pipper’s Secret Ingredient

The Pirate and the Firefly

A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas

A Pirate’s Twelve Days of Christmas

Planes, Trains, and Cars

Planet of the Dogs

A Pocketful of Rainbows

The Pocket Paper Engineer Vol 1 & 2

The Pocket Paper Engineer Vol 3

Poets & Saints

Posed For Murder

Postcards From a War

The Pout-Pout Fish

The Power Model System

The Power of Soul

The Power of the Penny

Pray for Justice

Pretty Dolls

Princess April Morning-Glory

Princesses of Bread

Princesses of the World

Proggy Menagerie

The Prometheus Project – Captured

The Prometheus Project – Stranded

The Prometheus Project – Trapped

The Psychology Behind Fitness Motivation


Pull It Off

The Puppet Master

Puppy Stew

Purposeful Action


Putting It Back Together


Quasar and the Eye of the Serpent


Radiant Health, Inner Wealth

Ralphina the Roly-Poly

A Real Prince Is Hard to Find

Tina Nordström’s Recipes for Young Cooks

The Red Car That Tyler Wanted

Red Hot Internet Publicity

The Red Scarf

The Reluctant Dragon


Resurrection (Naxos Audio)

The Richebourg Affair

Rich Is a Religion

Right Where You Are Now

The Ringmaster’s Wife

Roastbeef’s Promise

Rock Collecting for Kids / Rock Log

The Rose and the Lily

The Rose Ring

The Royal Nappy

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudy and Cirrus of Karma

Rufus Blasts Off!

Rufus Goes to Sea

The Ruins of Noe

The Runaway Dandelion

Running Lean

Running With the Bats

Rupert’s Tales:  The Wheel of the Year Activity Book

Ryan & Robbie’s Bike Ride Adventure


Sacred Rest

Sacred Wisdom

Saddle Up Your Own White Horse

Sadie’s Sore Throat

Said the Kitty to the Cat

Sail Away With Me

A Saint For All Reasons

Saltwater Taffy

The Sandburg Connection

Santopia – Book One:  Santa and the Lost Princess

Satchi and Little Star

Saved By Her Enemy

Scarecrow Finds a Friend

Scenes for Teens

Science Fiction Classics:  Graphic Classics Vol. 17

Scrambled Breakfast

Secondhand Horses (S.A.V.E. Squad:  Book 3)

The Secret Adventures of Louie V

The Secret of the Shamrock (Chime Travelers #1)

The Secrets We Left Behind

The Secret to Life Transformation

Secrets of a Christmas Box

See Inside the Dinosaur: An Interactive 3-D Exploration of a Triceratops

The Self-Compassion Diet

Seven Saints for Seven Virtues

Shades of Truth (From Sadie’s Sketchbook)

The Shadow of Seth

Shadows On My Wall

Shakuhachi Meditation Music

Shamanic Meditations

Shark Baby


Sherlock Sam and the Ghostly Moans in Fort Canning

Sherlock Sam and the Missing Heirloom in Katong

Shh… God Is in the Silence

Shirley’s Cakes

Shoah:  Journey From the Ashes

Shoot the Moon

The Show Must Go On!

The Sign of the Carved Cross (Chime Travelers #2)

Signs in Life: Finding Direction in Our Travels with God

The Silent Sphinx

The Silly Looking Thing

Silly Shoes: Poems to Make You Laugh

Simon’s Cat in Kitten Chaos

Simon’s Cat Off to the Vet…and Other Cat-astrophes

Simon’s Cat vs. the World

Simon Snootle and Other Small Stories

Simply Irresistible

Sing At School

Sing Into School

Sins of the Flesh

Sisters of Misery

The Sisters of Sugarcreek

Size 2 For Life

The Skinny on Bullying

The Skinny on Creativity

The Skinny on Credit Cards

The Skinny on Direct Sales

The Skinny on Networking

The Skinny on the Art of Persuasion

The Skinny on the Housing Crisis

The Skinny on Success

The Skinny on Time Management

The Skinny on Willpower

Skippyjon Jones books

Sleep Fat Wake Up Thin


Sloth Slept On

The SmartestWay to Save

Smithsonian Everything You Need to Know: Grades 4-5

Smithsonian Magnetic Adventures: Jungle

Smithsonian Magnetic Adventures: Solar System

Smithsonian Readers: Early Adventures Level 1

Smithsonian Readers: Seriously Amazing Level 2

Smithsonian Readers: World of Wonder Level 3

Smithsonian Readers: Endless Explorations Level 4

Smithsonian Sticker Creations: Wildlife


The Snoopy Treasures: A Celebration of the World Famous Beagle

Snow Valley Heroes

Snow White

The Society of Seasonal Secretkeepers

SOIL: More Than Just Dirt


Somebody Up There Hates You

Someone to Blame

Song For Papa Crow

Songs For Movin’ & Shakin’

Songs of Mary

Sophie’s Animal Parade

SpaceCoyotes and the Secret of the Blue Planet

Spaceship Earth


A Spell of Nine

Spirits in the Garden

SPI:  The Case of the Dark Shadow

Spooky Sticker Activity Book

The Sport of Schutzhund

Sports Illustrated Kids Big Book of Who:  Football

The Squeaky Wheel


Squirrel Rescue

The Squirrel, the Worm, and the Nut Trees

Stable in Bethlehem

Stella Strawberry:  The Fruit of Love

Stories on the Journey: A Homiletic Biography (Cycle A Homilies)

Stories on the Journey: A Homilitic Biography (Cycle B Homilies)

Storybook ABCs

The Story of Boo

The Story of Everdream:  Book 1:  The Christmas Witch

The Story of the Blue Planet

Strange But True, America

Street Smarts:  Beyond the Diploma

The Student Life Jacket

Sudden Death

Sudden Flash Youth

Suddenly Single

The Sugar Mountain Snow Ball

Summer by Summer

The Summer of Letting Go

The Summer of New Beginnings

Summer Sanctuary

Sunday in Kyoto

Sunny Days

Super Animal Powers: The Amazing Abilities of Animals

Super Healing

Surprise in the Meadow

Surviving Seventh Grade

Survivor Song

Swamper:  Letters from a Louisiana Swamp Rabbit

Sweet Georgia Brown


Sylvester (Naxos Audio)


The Tale of Strawberry Snow

Taro and Tomi:  My Feline Son and Daughter

Tasha Finds Her Forever Friend

Tasting Rain

Tax-Free Retirement

Tears of Fears Behind Closed Doors

That’s What You Think!

The Tears of the Prophet

Tell Me a Story

Terrance Texter

Terra Tempo:  Ice Age Cataclysm!

Terra Tempo:  The Four Corners of Time


That Night

That’s Not the Monster We Ordered

They’re Coming!

They’re Coming For You

This Is the Day

This Little Prayer of Mine

This Is Your Captain Speaking

This Victorian Life

Thompson Twins:  Las Vegas Adventure

Three Feet From Gold


Tibetan Dream Journey

Tibetan Sound Healing

Tim and Sally’s Year In Poems

The Time Fetch

Time For a Hug

Time to Get Ready… A Hurricane Is Coming to Our Town!

The Time Traveller’s Assistant

Tomato Turtle

Too Tall Alice

Tooth & Claw: The Wild World of Big Predators

Topsy-Turvy Town

Total Law of Attraction

Touched By the Light

Touchstones:  Stories for Living the Twelve Gifts

Tracks Count: A Guide to Counting Animal Prints (The Little Naturalist Series)

Transforming Pandora

A Travel Guide to Heaven for Kids

Traveling Bear Series by Winning Kids


Trent the Racing Turtle

The Trickster’s Hat

Trish’s Team

Trooper’s Trip to the Vet

The Trouble With Cavapoos

True Grit

The Truth About Lies

Truth Heals

The Truth:  What You Must Know Before December 21, 2012

Tuesday Takes Me There: The Healing Journey of a Veteran and his Service Dog

TurboCharged Recipes

Turkey and Mr. Bear

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Two Little “Savages”


Uncensored: Daring to Embrace the Entire Bible

Under the Liberty Oak

Under the Moon

The Undying Soul

The Unfinished Garden

Unifying Truths of the World’s Religions


The Unraveling of Wentwater

Untie the Strong Woman

Urban Falcon


The Vampire Patrons

A Very, Very Noisy Tractor

Viku and the Elephant

Viku and the Ivory Thieves

Viku Goes to School

Viku to the Rescue

The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter

Voices:  Reflections on an American Icon


Wacky Jacky

Wade Boss:  Hybrid Hunter

Wake Up!

Wake Up, Man Up, Step Up

Walking Through a World of Aromas

The Walls Around Us

Waves of Light (From Sadie’s Sketchbook)


The Wealth Manifesto

The Weber Street Wonder Work Crew

Webs of Power

Weebeastology Vol. 1

Weebeasts Plight

The Wee Musketeers

Weeping Under This Same Moon

We Go Together!

What Eats That?

What’s a Banana?

What’s an Apple?

What’s the Trouble in the Forest of Kerfubble?

What Your Mother Never Told You

When a Man Loves a Woman

When Bunnies Go Bad (Pru Marlowe Pet Noir #6)

When Grace Sings

When Mercy Rains

When, When, When Will it be Christmas?

Where Is My Money?

Where’s Green?

Where Things Are From Near to Far

Which Animal Is Fastest?

Whispers of Rest: 40 Days of God’s Love to Revitalize Your Soul

Whitey On the Ranch

Whose Baby Butt?

Who’s In the Tree?

Who Will Care When You’re Not There?

Why Did I Get This Credit Card?

Wild Colt

Willie the Taxi Cat

Windows of Gold

Winning With Money


Wisdom to Wellness

Wisteria’s Show and Tell Spectacular

The Witch, the Cat and the Egg

The Witch, the Cat and the Water Dragon

With My Umbrella, I Can…

The Wizard’s Daughter

Woffles – A Fishy Adventure

The Woman’s Field Guide to Exceptional Living

Womenopause:  Stop Pausing and Start Living

Women’s Health – Your Guide to Sexual Fantasies

Wooby & Peep

The World

World War II

A Wretched Man – A Novel of Paul the Apostle

The Writer’s Roadmap

Writing With Rosie: You Can Write a Story Too



A Year on the Farm

Yell Out / Do You

Yogurt the Ogre:  The Big Tale of the Not-So-Tidy Whale

Yogurt the Ogre:  A Magical Tale in Mudd Hollow

Yogurt the Ogre:  The Colorful Tale of the Creative Crayon

You Are Enough

You Are the Beloved

You, Inc.

Youngen Finds Her Song

Young Henry and the Dragon

Your Daily Walk With the Great Minds

Your Natural Medicine Cabinet

Your Superpowers Vol. 1:  Dream It, Achieve It


Zoey Zeta and the Sisters of Power

Zombie Cat:  The Tale of a Decomposing Kitty

The Zoo is Closed Today!

Zoology for Kids: Understanding and Working with Animals

October 19, 2012 Posted by | | Leave a comment

Author Interview: Debu Majumdar

Bergers Book Reviews offers a warm welcome to Debu Majumdar, who has stopped in today for a chat:

Where are you originally from? What brought you to the US?
I am originally from Calcutta, India, a city made somewhat infamous first by the controversial Black Hole of Calcutta and later by a novel, The City of Joy. Mother Theresa’s heart-felt activities for the dying and destitute finally put the city on everyone’s map of the world. Actually, it is a city that thrives with writers, musicians and artists and has produced three Nobel laureates (literature, peace, and economics) and musicians like Ravi Shankar and film directors like Satyajit Ray. So I am happy to be from Calcutta, now called Kolkata.

I came to the U.S. to do graduate study in physics. This was possible because the University of Pennsylvania provided me with a teaching assistantship that paid the tuition and money to live in Philadelphia.

What was the inspiration for Viku and the Elephant?
When they were young, our two sons loved to hear stories from India. Stories from far away India were mysterious and fascinating – stories of monkeys who throw fruits at you or snakes who hang like vines are indeed fascinating. I invented the character of Viku to entertain them. Viku grew up near a jungle and he was never afraid of animals. He was also a good boy. I think my sons associated with Viku as a hero and wanted to hear more of his adventures. They’d ask me to repeat the stories over and over again. Many years later, I thought that if my sons liked Viku, perhaps other children would also. So I wrote up the first story. Another thing that inspired me to write about Viku was that in my volunteer tutoring of school children I found that children here are unaware of the outside world and of other cultures. But the world is getting smaller and these children will grow up and likely interact and work with people from around the world. I want them to know about other cultures through simple stories.

How do you view human and animal interactions? Is it possible to truly be an animal’s friend?
Children growing up in India learn a lot from animal stories such as the Panchatantra and Jataka tales, where animals are portrayed as intelligent beings having human-like feelings. These children grow up sympathetic and respectful of animals. They do not, in general, think of animals as soulless beings and their first instinct is to not kill an animal, but rather to appreciate it. The predominant Hindu culture also supports this, as each god or goddess has a specific animal associated with them. For example, the elephant-headed god, Ganesh, is always portrayed with a mouse sitting at his feet. In this upbringing, human and animal interactions are gentle and friendly. There is little violence in this picture – certainly no interest in killing an animal to have it mounted on a wall. Now, this is a mental image, and cannot be true in the real world with wild animals. I am as afraid of predatory animals as anyone else! However, we know very little about wild animals. What do the animals think of humans? We do not know.

Domesticated animals, on the other hand, are a different story. Human beings can certainly be their friends, and the interesting thing is that animals can also be friends to humans. Dogs and dolphins have rescued and helped many people. Where would humans be without the help of domesticated cows and horses? We train dogs and elephants to do our work. Through our interactions with pets we learn empathy, trust, caring for others, and many such social values. They help us in to be better human beings.

My cat, Dooshtoo (the name means naughty), was waiting outside the door of my study until my wife let her in. She comes to me and when I say, “Come,” she climbs on my lap and sits with me while I write. She nudges me occasionally to pat her. If this is not friendship, I don’t know what else it could be between a man and a cat.

Viku and Haatee face evil men, successfully thwarting their actions. What advice would you give kids facing problems in their own lives?
Viku could not have defeated the ivory thieves without the help of his elephant friend, Haatee. This was possible for two reasons: first, he understood his friend very well even though Haatee couldn’t talk; and secondly Haatee was very smart. Viku tried to plead with the bandits, but that did not work. Viku and Haatee did the best thing they could do at the time. Viku did not know how their problem would be solved, but he kept his mind open and in the end a solution emerged. They came out victorious.

So when you face difficulties, big or small, do not give in to fear, keep your wits – your intelligence. Try your best not to feel despair or hopeless. Then firmly remember that good will always win over evil in the end. A solution will emerge. Make the best decision you can make and search for other solutions – always keep your mind open for a new way to get out of the problem. If you give up or cave in, no help can come to you.

Do not hide away from problems such as someone bullying you or telling you something that you do not like or want to do; talk with friends and adults – with more than one adult if possible. Do not remain silent and keep your problems inside you. Many problems will go away if you are able to talk with someone.

Your book is set in India, which is an important element of the story. Would you like to share with us a special Indian holiday tradition or a memory of an important event?
‘Thirteen festivals in twelve months’ is a common saying in India. So growing up in India with many festivities is wonderful. And in my childhood (in the fifties) when all vegetables and fish were not available throughout the year, the festivals brought new meanings with different food items and sweets. For example, tomatoes, cauliflower, peas, etc. came only in winter in India and, similarly, summer brought other vegetables (some still not available in the U.S.) and fruits such as mango, litchi, etc. Mothers made different sweets for different festivals and we looked forward to those times and treats.

I will write about one festival today – kite flying day – when the sky fills up with kites of all colors. It is a day all boys and many men get very excited about. There will be kite fights that everyone prepares for many days before the festival. The trick is to make your kite string sharp and knife-like by pasting glass powder on it with special glue. When the string is dried in the sun, it can easily cut your fingers, so one has to be careful during kite flying. You can bring your kite near any other kite in the sky and go under or over its thread and cut the opponent’s string by pulling your string very fast. Of course, we develop expertise in maneuvering a kite in the sky. We could move it in any direction very quickly. No one can complain about a kite fight, especially on kite flying day, and the defeated kite falls down – free for anyone to grab it. Running after a falling kite is also great fun. Once running with a group of boys, I caught the string of a falling kite, but alas, a taller person caught the string above me and ran away with it. Finder’s keepers. We usually fly kites from the roof (buildings have flat roofs – with a short wall around the roof top patio) and also from the ground, and what fun kite-flying is! In the eastern part of India, kite-flying day is the day of worship of the god who is the patron of engineering.

Have you written other books, or are there any in the works?
I wrote a creative non-fiction book, From the Ganges to the Snake River – an East Indian in the American West, which was first published by Idaho State University and later by Caxton Press in 2000. It is autobiographical and is based on my experience in Idaho. The book interweaves Indian culture with North American reality. A reviewer said, “It gives a tender, often amusing account of a stranger in a strange land. With each piece I found myself laughing out loud and curious to read more…” Four chapters from this book were reprinted (from all publications by Rendezvous from 1966 – 2005) by the Idaho State University Department of English and Philosophy in their Memorial volume titled Rendezvous: Forty years of History, Politics and Literature of the West.

My next book will be a sequel to “Viku and the Elephant” and is tentatively called “Viku Comes to the Rescue.” Hopefully it will come out in 2012. Themes of this story entail a spirit of not giving up, perseverance, cleverness, and punishment of the bad guys.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I grew up with stories – all kinds of stories – animal stories, scary stories where female demons eat people up, ghost stories, mythological stories, and stories of gods and goddesses. Many of these stories teach good ethical values – primarily compassion and right things to do. The world is getting smaller and when the children of today grow up, they will meet and work with people from different parts of the world. I’d like our children to read stories from different lands so they will better understand other cultures and points of view. Viku and the Elephant is one such story. I wish all children read it.

Thanks for visiting with us today, Debu!

November 22, 2011 Posted by | author interview | 5 Comments