Its one of those children's books which I read again and again. Right from my childhood, through my teens and growing up years ,through job and sometimes ,even today as a mum of two! With it time stands still, frozen just like the view offered by the Trans-Siberian Railway train Chuck and Geck had boarded.It's a wonderful story by Arkday Gaider , the Russian writer who wrote for young children . His books are full of motivation, courage and honesty for Russian kids. His 'Chuck and Geck' is full of innocent adventure for young minds.
Chuck and Geck are two little children living in Moscow with their mother while their father is away at the distant, cold , snow covered Taiga lands. They
receive a telegram from father stating he can not come home for Christmas. To celebrate Christmas and new year together, the mother decides to go to Taiga land instead. She went to station to book the tickets leaving both naughty brothers at home. The brothers received another telegram in mum's absence which was lost in their fight. By unspoken consent, they didn't tell Mother about the lost letter. Braving cold wind, snow and dark night in train, they reached the Taigas ...only to found the shacks empty! Father had left for Moscow. However in the end the family is united and celebrates New Year together while listening on radio, the tinkle of midnight bells from the great land that is -Moscow.
What else the verdict is but Excellent and a Must read. The story, the illustrations, the writing style ..everything is perfect for the innocence of the young imaginative minds and their tender hearts. The incident where one of the brother was lost and when on founding him the mother showered him with love, the feelings of the other were acutely written .
"She was so nice to him that Chuck finally took offence and was sorry he hadn't thought of climbing into the trunk before."
The fir trees and the vast land of the Taiga, all quiet and blanketed by the snow, the night journey by sledge with wild animals lurking behind the darkness of the forest , the empty desolate shacks made the story exciting.
Seemed as if I was the one inhaling the cold wind, my cheeks dotted with snow flakes, face numb with chill and wild animals prowling nearby in the wilderness....
Mother and sons won over fear, anxiety, cold, hunger, tiredness, wilderness and wild animals .So its a story of love, courage and family bonding with patriotism, brotherhood and Great city Moscow woven in between.
The tinkling of the bells was another part I carry with me-
" Big and little bells were ringing a refrain like this:
Chuck and Geck looked at each other. They knew what that was.It was the golden Kremlin chimes pealing out beneath the red star of the Spassky Tower in faraway Moscow. And those chimes -- on the eve of New Year --were heard by people everywhere-- in town and hillside, in steppe and taiga, and on the blue seas."
The story opens and ends with lines about Moscow and Soviet Union which evoke in me love and respect for one's country.
" Each understood the meaning of happiness in his own way.But one and all knew and understood that they must live honourably, work hard, love and cherish the vast ,happy land known as Soviet Union."