Lai-Lai the Baby Elephant
Shekar Dattatri
Shekar Dattatri
age group: 
3+ yrs
Number of pages: 
nature and wildlife elephants baby animals
picture book, non-fiction

The information on the very first page grabs one's attention - A one-day old baby elephant, Lai Lai, is three feet tall and weighs one hundred kilos. Wow!
Page after page, the author succinctly describes the life and growth of an elephant from birth to adulthood. The bond between the mother and the baby. Why elephants have mud-baths, (no, they are not wanting to get dirty, but instead are trying to protect themselves from pesky insects!). Who is a tusker? Who is the leader of the herd? And, why do the big lumbering animals travel from place to place? And how incursions of human habitation on corridors connecting the jungles creates problems for both Man and Beasts

All that and more in this delightful bi-lingual book. The text has been illuminated by delightful black and white photographs that give a feel of actually being there in the jungle.

A must have for schools and for parents who want to introduce their children to Indian wildlife in general, and elephants, in particular.

Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee


Thanks for your review. Being a conservationist, I wanted to make sure that the book wasn't just a cute 'feel good' story. Children care deeply and our job is to sow the right seeds.

Here's an interesting incident about the book. Some years ago, while having a snack at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi, I saw a young mum reading Lai-Lai to her small son. After some initial hesitation, I introduced myself as the author. Clearly delighted, 'mum' told me that it was her child's favourite book, and that he insisted on having it read to him everyday. She then asked me if I would sign the book. Very pleased with myself, I pulled out my pen and scrawled my signature on the front page. Much to my chagrin, the child gave a shriek of horror and started sobbing uncontrollably. It was his favourite book and some pesky guy had come along and defaced it! Moral of the story: if you're going to sign a child's book, ask the child first!