I read the two books in the Fifth lane series by Madhuri Purandare several times in these past few days.
First off, I am a huge fan of her work. When I heard about the books I could barely wait to order them from https://jyotsnaprakashan.com/ who are actually my favourite publishers of children's books. My colleagues had felt the English translation of these Marathi books was not impressive but I disagree. Both the Marathi and the English versions are worth reading. I quickly gave off the English version as a gift because I wanted to make an effort to read Marathi( it is an adopted language for me) and am very happy I did that. But my 9 year old read it in English and really liked the stories too.
Do read either in Marathi or in English because they are such tender tales with the most gorgeous of illustrations. I kept wishing I could dress up like some of the characters Madhuri P. has drawn in the books.
The books are titled 'Sakkhe Shejari' in Marathi which means true neighbours and Paanchvi Galli or Fifth Lane (The lane in which the building evolved from a bungalow) and it is a set of stories of residents living in an apartment through the eyes of Ketaki, a kid who lives with her single mom . So you get to meet different characters - a single parent, a hearing impaired mother, a stay at home artist dad, a single woman professional - who are all part of our worlds in a children's book.
Madhuri P. has managed to bring in a sense of a real community with people who are different - look different/talk different/dress different weaving in these themes effortlessly as Ketaki goes prancing around and observing acutely like only a child can!