Sultan's Forest
Kamla Bhasin
age group: 
5+ yrs
Tulika Books
wildlife tigers Ranthambore

With its brilliant photographs, some having been playfully created into a collage of sorts using locally produced hand-made toys, this book would be a great way to introduce the mighty tigers of Ranthambore and their home - the forest, to children and planting the seeds of love for wildlife and nature in them.

Titled Sultan’s Forest, it provides the readers a glimpse into the world of the tiger cub, Sultan. His relationship with his parents, his life in the jungle and its challenges – one of them being hordes of tourists coming in jeeps and buses and going – Click, click, click!

Whilst, it is the journey of Sultan from a cub - hidden away by his mother in some shrubbery or cave to be safe from harm - to a full grown adult, it is also the story of the birth of a wildlife enthusiast – Bina. Owing to her appointment as a Minister Forests and Environment in Rajasthan, she began to visit the forests and soon not only became passionate about the tigers and the other animals, but also an ardent photographer and spokesperson for protecting their home.

From a slow start, where the process of naming the tigers is discussed, something maybe interesting to an adult, but not a child, the book picks up momentum and soon we are taken through the jungle, with its myriads of creatures, see the crumbling monuments that dot the landscape and also enjoy the realtionship of Sultan with his mother - something not too different from that of a human child. Children will enjoy the little tid-bits of information, such as, the little cub clambering all over his mother as she is resting and perhaps getting gently rapped in the process, and of him fetching Bina's hat in her mouth to return it to her.

The writer has also gently introduced the topic of littering the forest and the dangers that it poses to its wildlife, something that should become a topic of discussion between a child and an adult, whether teacher or parent.

A great book to place in the hands of children.

Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee