The Old Animals' Forest Band
Sirish Rao
Durga Bai
age group: 
5+ yrs
Number of pages: 
Tara Books
value education Gond art folktales folk art animals
picture book, fiction


Akin to the Musicians of Bremen - a very familiar folk tale about the ingratitude of Man, featuring several animals who, in spite of having served loyally for many, many years, had been cast out of their homes, as soon as they were too old to work and had stopped being useful to their owners. The animals - a dog that stopped barking at strangers, a cow who had run dry, a rooster who got his internal clock mixed up and a donkey who was too old to carry the loads - decide to stick together and combine their respective strengths to gain self sufficiency.

The book could have been another me-too, however, the illustrations in the Gond art form of Central India, adds an exciting new dimension to it and imparts a fresh and earthy feel to it.

Sensitively illustrated by Durga Bai, who seems to have gauged the pulse of the child, she has succeeded in effectively conveying not just the setting of the story, but surprisingly, also the emotions of the animals through their eyes and their body stances which is sure to appeal to the child.

Well designed with a lot of white space and sparse use of colour add to the appeal of the book.

A great book to gift and possess!

Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee