A Tale of Tails
Ramendra Kumar
Pulak Biswas
age group: 
3+ yrs
Number of pages: 
National Book Trust
value education nature and wildlife
picture book, fantasy

A tale of tails and lost friendship, this slim book conveys subtle messages at many levels.

Once upon a time, a snake and a mongoose were great friends. When a competition was announced in the jungle to decide who had the longest tail, the two decided to participate not individually but as one. The route chosen was by hook or by crook. The snake held on to the mongoose’s tail, thus making it seem much longer than it actually was and they were declared the winners.

However, as the saying goes, cheaters never prosper, and so it happened that eventually by their petty selfishness, they were found out and disqualified. A bitter verbal match ensued and ever since then the two erstwhile friends became sworn enemies.

Simply narrated, the book has great illustrations by a highly talented artist, the late Pulak Biswas. The illustrations consume most of the page, with just the right amount of space spared for the text, making for a neat, clean and inviting layout, one that will appeal to children and make them want to go back to it.

The book will also be invaluable to teachers to read aloud and conduct group discussions with young children, raising questions such as, were the mongoose and the snake justified in wrongly participating in the contest. Whose fault was it that they finally lost? Should they continue their enmity or should they, forgive and forget?


Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee