Basava and the Dots of Fire
Radhika Chadha
Bhakti Phatak
age group: 
5+ yrs
Number of pages: 
butterflies value education children around India dragonflies
picture book, fantasy

Basava, a young boy, stays with his mother in Masinahalli. His hut is on the edge of the forest, where he goes to collect firewood to help his mother. The words of his mother exhorting him to come back before the sun sets are always at the back of his mind as he goes about his task. One day, while collecting firewood, Basava saves a butterfly trapped in a web and a dragonfly that has almost drowned in a puddle of water. Both the creatures assure him of their help if he ever needs it. Basava discounts the offer of help and continues with his task, travelling deeper and deeper into the dense forest. When he collects enough firewood, he realizes that the sun has set a long time ago and he is lost. His panicked cry for help draws his new-found friends, the butterfly and the dragonfly.

The ingenious solution that the little creatures come up with, affirms that one should never underestimate anybody, whatever their size - an underlying message to the book’s young readers that they can take on the biggest of challenges. It also subtly points out the importance of kindness to every creature however small.

The illustrations by Bhakti Phatak are breathtaking; they are meticulously detailed. She uses vivid colours to emphasize the ‘feel’ of the moment. The final layer of spray painting gives the illustrations a textured feel. She uses different points of perspective (note the dragonfly hovering over Basava) to enhance the emotion of the moment. This is a book that will keep readers engrossed and asking for more.

This book is also available in: Hindi, Marathi, Gujrati, Tamil, Telugu, Malyalam, Kannada.

Reviewed by Priya Bhasker