I am Aan
Author: Meenakshi Bharadwaj
Illustrations: Christopher Corr
Age: 4 plus
Aan is a baby elephant and the tale is told through his eyes. He grows up with the rest of the herd, frolicking and playing, happy as the day is long.
It is a cute lesson in nature for children because the author leads them through the elephant's eating habits, weight, habitat and more. Aan is happy to be a part of the herd, not realising that he is growing up and constantly surrounded by the females of the herd.
Until one day he is forced to take heed of the fact that he is now an adult and must leave. Naturally he is unwilling but can do nothing about it and is finally given the old heave ho. He is none too happy about it but eventually realises that this is the way of nature and it is no longer possible for him to be the irresponsible little elephant calf he has always been.
The story ends on a rather sombre note and while I thought it was a lovely tale on the harsh facts of life and growing up, obviously the children disagreed. Because a little while later the Brat came to me and said - Will you throw me out of the house when I am nine years old?
I was rather shocked at the question that hit like a bolt from the blue. Why would I do that, I asked?
Aan was forced to leave because he was a boy and growing up, says the gentle Brat.
I hugged him and reassured him that I would never push him out of the house until he was ready and wanted to leave but it was a stark reminder of the importance of fable and how it could impact a young mind.
Full of interesting facts and trivia on elephants this is a book that nature loving kids will treasure. The illustrations by Christopher Corr are bright and vivid. Flatteringly, he says he discovered colour in India.