The Elephant Bird
Arefa Tehsin
Sonal Goyal, Sumit Sakhuja
age group: 
5+ yrs
Number of pages: 
Pratham Books
wildlife and nature value education Gond art elephant bird differently abled
picture book, fiction

Munia, a differently-abled child, unlike her namesake bird, is not at all shy and timid. When the villagers decide to kill the elephant bird whom they suspect of having eaten their horse, she is determined to save it even though that meant facing the wrath and anger of the village heads.

Beautifully illustrated in the Gond art form, one of the popular folk arts of India, the book exudes vibrancy of style, colour and spirit.

What I love about the book is that Munia, who yearns for acceptance by friends and family, still decides to stand up for truth and justice to save her friend – the elephant bird.

What I like about the book is also the portrayal of mob mentality. Even though, the villagers must know that the elephant bird is an herbivorous animal, they cast all their reasoning aside and decide to avenge the supposed death of their horse, pretty much what happens in India all the time.

What I am not so hot about is that the book is a bit too wordy and that may try the patience of a younger child, who being attracted by the visuals and the concept may get put off by it, which would be very sad as both the story line and the illustrations are spot-on!

A delightful story. Wondering whether Pratham books could bring out a sequel about the adventures of the elephant bird and his gumptious little friend - Munia.



Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee