Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The World of Trees

Author : Ruskin Bond
Illustrator : Kollol Majumder
Publisher : National Book Trust of India

These days quite a few Ruskin Bond books are being read in the house - for/by the elder kid and also for ourselves ! I will elaborate that statement a little further down in this post.

The World of Trees is a beautiful book that I chanced upon at the NBT book shop in Bangalore. NBT publishes some really wonderful books content wise , though only a few of them have visually appealing illustrations to go with them. This is one such gem which attracts you the moment you set your eyes on it.

As the title suggests, it is a book about the trees of India. Each chapter deals with one tree but a few chapters in the end, combine a few trees of a particular geography or genre. It is only in the hands of a master story teller like Ruskin Bond that even facts become so fascinating to kids ! In each of the chapters he describes the trees, their leaves, flowers and fruits. He also tells about the birds and insects which visit a particular tree and in which season. Then the various uses of the trees are listed. He goes on to elaborate the myths, legends and traditions associated with these trees in the local communities, which make it very interesting.

The soft water colour illustrations are a true delight and complement the contents of the book.

This book was kept as a bed time read aloud book to the kids by Sathish and me. In the process of reading out to them we learned a lot of interesting facts ourselves. Our eight year old son really enjoyed this book and our 4 year old enjoyed those portions that were familiar to her - the banyan, the silk cotton tree (which we have seen in the Lalbagh garden) and the mango ! Our next project is to visit the Lalbagh garden armed with this knowledge to get the real experience of these trees :-).

Another book which I am currently reading is The Book of Nature by Ruskin Bond. This book has some segments from The World of Trees plus a host of other interesting nature related experiences of Ruskin Bond. It truly transports us to the hills and forests of the Northern India and creates a warm, cosy and feel good experience for us who are sitting in this urban jungle !

My son is currently reading Mr.Oliver's diary, a recently released book of Ruskin Bond. It records the plight of a school teacher who has to handle a bunch of naughty kids and their antics !! The book is bringing out a lot of giggles and smiles :-)


Choxbox said...

Totally agree - its a lovely book. the illustrations are reason enough to buy it, apart from Mr.Bond's awesome narrative.
We have another Ruskin Bond - also about trees. Will dig it out and get back with its name.

And also have you seen any of Ranjit Lal's books on nature? Totally recommend those also.

Books like these have made reading about flora & fauna so much fun for kids!

sathish said...

The reason I enjoyed the book the most is because of the way Ruskin Bond describes the myths/conventions that surround Indian Trees.

Vibha said...

Thanks for the review Ranjani. Raghav is reading another book by Ruskin Bond - 'The Hidden Pool' and enjoying it throughly. Will pick this book too.

ranjani.sathish said...

Chox thanks for the recco about Ranjit Lal..will definitely check them out. Any specific titles - publishers ? Your last statement is so true. I think they should have books likes these as supplements for kids in schools.

Vibha : That's nice ! That was the first chapter book of Ruskin Bond that Sooraj read.

Unknown said...

Totally agree in saying that very few children these days read Ruskin Bond. It happened with us too that we had bought "crazy times with uncle ken" for our 8 year old son, and we ended up reading the book along with him. It is so mesmerizing, hilarious, having a slice of life in every page you turn to. In other words i found it unputdownable.. I get hold of his other books along with the ones mentioned by you all...

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