My love for thunderstorms, storytelling and poetry came together in this story.
What’s the book about?
Every element of the thunderstorm – the wind, the thunder, the lightning falling over the gurgling river in a tropical forest is to me fundamental of nature. And I wanted to explain why each of those happen and how to view them in a different perspective – not one with fear, but with awe and wonder.
But I wanted each of the explanations to be a mini-story, an imaginative experience by itself. Lightning breaks into stars and rivers eat up darkness and that opens up the door to imagining new things.
This was a book that didn’t require any specific research. I instinctively understood thunderstorms and water-cycle was something I learnt as a kid really well. However, when I chose the animals for this story, Alice Curry, the publisher of Lantana Publishing suggested that we choose two familiar and two unfamiliar animals.
There are a number of wonderful animals in the story.
Slow Loris – the Loris is a type of monkey that’s now endangered because humans seem to like their cuteness and capture them as pets. But they do not survive living outside the jungle.
Monkey – Indian forests are full of monkeys across the country and the story would be incomplete without them.
Tigers – in the Western Ghats where this story is set in my mind, the forests are home to tigers. Our history books are full of tigers that rule the forests.
Pangolin – there are 5 types of pangolins across Asia and Africa. All of these types are endangered because many want them for their scales. These ant-eaters are quiet and courageous and I wanted to include them in this story.
Mama Elephant – Elephants are majestic creatures that I am familiar with since I was a little girl. We used to see elephants in temples and in our epics. They are gentle yet formidable too. In this story, Mama Elephant is the universal mother figure that comforts all the little animals in the forest.
More than the Animals
The illustrator Poonam Mistry has added birds, fishes, dragon flies and beetles to the wonderful illustrations too. There are two types of birds in this book:
One is the Great Indian Hornbill – which is like a Toucan. Again this is a bird that’s prevalent in the jungles of the Western Ghats.
The other bird is the black and orange flycatcher, which is again endemic to this region.
If you’re able to spot the beetles and the dragonflies, do be sure to count them.
Illustrator Poonam Mistry
Please follow Poonam on Instagram to find out more about the inside story of the art. She will show you her rough sketches and B&W drawings, and how Inuit art inspired the designs in this book.
Read more about Lantana Publishing and all their inclusive books here.
Poonam Mistry’s artwork has earned the book a shortlisting on the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medals 2019.
We’re ever so grateful to all the praise for the art and the words and the wonderful production of this book. Here are some of the notable reviews.
‘A perfect bedtime picture book. A sleep-time staple for toddlers’
– The Guardian
‘This simple story will comfort little ones and its soothing text will lull them to sleep. Accompanied with incredibly stunning and intricate illustrations, this picture book would make a great addition to the bedtime routine.’
‘With its short, rhythmic text and its rich, embellished, shiny pages with animals, flowers, and trees just waiting to be discovered, this is a reassuring yet inventive bedtime book.’
– Kirkus Reviews
‘This really is a dazzling book, soothing for bedtimes but with really amazing artwork that twinkles just like the night sky. Wow’
– Phil & Charlotte May, Read It Daddy
A captivating picture book that marries a lyrical and rhythmic story about bedtime fears with striking artwork inspired by Indian folklore.
– Books for Topics
Listen to Chitra Soundar read a little from the book.