A King Cobra's Summer
Janaki Lenin
Maya Ramaswamy
age group: 
9+ yrs
Number of pages: 
Pratham Books
snakes reptiles nilgiris

Ever wondered what the life of a snake must be like?
This book invites us to experience the challenges, trials, tribulations, angst joys and sorrows(even they seem to have their share of problems) of a King Cobra.

We are introduced to Kaala, the King Cobra, who lives in a burrow amidst slender arecanut palms in Southern India. He is about to moult and we realize how uncomfortable the process is for snakes. For one, his skin is uncomfortably tight and two, his eyes turn a milky opaque making it difficult for him to see.

As we proceed through the narrative we learn not only about his habitat, but also about his preferred diet, his strengths and weaknesses. We learn to appreciate that all he really wants is to be left in peace, and that, the only reason he attacks another creature is when he feels threatened or for food - which by the way, is primarily other species of snakes!

We also get to meet the other denizens of his jungle, the elephant, the hornbill, the Nilgiri langurs and spot a few others in the beautifully rendered true-to-life illustrations.

As, there are very few Indian books that give children an insight into the lesser known wildlife of India, this book fills in a very important gap and should be part of every school library.

All in all, a great book for kids to know more and to understand the most maligned creature on earth – the snake!

Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee