Most kids are apprehensive when they join school for the first time.
But little Kali is was much more so. Because he is different. He belongs to the Irula tribe, famous for their ability to catch snakes that are used to prepare anti-venom serum. However, Kali doesn’t want to be different, he wishes he were just like the others, “an ordinary boy with a bus conductor father.” Even though he is a very bright boy, he feels that everything about him is wrong. He eats different foods and he looks different. All he wishes for is to conform, to be like anyone else - not who he was.
Until, one eventful day at school, he catches a rat snake live and becomes a hero, appreciated by all. He knows now that he finally belongs, when as soon as the teacher’s back is turned, the children grin. "Secret grins, the kind that friends use.” It is finally his difference that makes him belong.
A sensitive and touching tale of fear of rejection and desire for acceptance.
The soft gentle watercolours of the illustrations are evocative and aptly reflect Kali’s dilemma and emotions.
Kali and the Rat Snake is a book that will delight parents, teachers and children alike.
This book is also available in Hindi, Tamil, Malyalam, Kannada.
Kali and the Rat Snake
Kali and the Rat Snake is a beautiful story I have been using to introduce children to Adivasi traditional knowledge. Too often indigenous knowledge is considered primitive, unscientific and therefore valueless!!
Kali is a tribal boy who feels inferior because his father is a snake catcher, nothing to be proud off!! But then one day, when a snake slithers inside the classroom, Kali is the only boy who is not terrified. He can recognize snakes, he knows how to catch them and handle them and therefore has no reason to be scared!! Thanks to this traditional knowledge inherited from his father, Kali saves everyone and becomes instant hero.
Review submitted for LRSI - '14
THIS STORY IS WRITTEN BY ZAI WHITAKER.IT IS A STORY OF A FRAIL SMALL BOY,KALI.WHEN HE WENT TO FISHING WITH HIS DAD HE WOULD HAVE VIGOUR.BUT,WHILE HE WENT TO THE SCHOOL HE WOULD BE LAZY.HIS FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL WAS ODREAL.HE WOULD SIT APART AND WOULD NOT BE SO CHEERFUL AS THE CLASSMATES WERE.HE HAD GOT HIS FAVOURITE LUNCH,FRIED TERMITES!HE WENT NEAR THE WALL AND SAT THERE TO HAVE HIS TASTY MEAL.
ONCE A SNAKE APPROACHED IN THE CLASS AND ALL OF THEM STARTED SHOUTING.KALI WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO WASN’T AFRAID OF THE ‘RAT SNAKE’.HE USED HIS DAD’S TRICK AND CAUGHT THE RAT SNAKE.ALSO BY THIS WAY HE STARTED TO INTERACT WITH HIS CLASSMATES.
LABDHI B JAIN,
Arya Vidya Mandir