By Richa Chadda
‘Plant more trees’ and ‘save water’ are probably the most common phrases parroted by children, when it comes to environmental conservation. But how do children understand why they should do this, and what they can do?
With bite-sized, lyrical text and quirky illustrations, Let’s Plant Trees and Let’s Catch the Rain – written and illustrated by Vinod Lal Heera Eshwar – offer a great introduction to these concepts.
As suggested by the titles, Let’s Plant Trees urges young readers to increase the green cover while Let’s Catch the Rain promotes rainwater harvesting. However, there are no lengthy explanations and certainly no preaching. Instead the books give pithy reasons accompanied by clever illustrations that invite readers to think and explore on their own. For example, one of my favourite illustrations in Let’s Plant Trees shows a dog barking at a cat on a tree. But the cat is lounging unperturbed by the barking. The foliage ensures that the noise doesn’t get to it. Predictably, the text reads ‘trees block noise’! Similarly, in Let’s Catch the Rain the author shows rainwater being collected in all manner of things – from inverted umbrellas to every conceivable kitchen utensil and tumbler. Watch out for the little bird frolicking in the rain – it’s guaranteed to make you chuckle!
The call to action is subtle, yet impactful enough for young readers to demand a ‘tree’ for planting or a container to hold water the next time it starts raining. The small size of the books makes them attractive for children, but a larger size would have done more justice to the illustrations in the books, giving children greater room to pore over the details. It’s also interesting that the author has chosen blue for the book on planting trees and green for the one on catching the rain. The colour scheme is even more impactful since the books follow a minimalist, two-colour palette.
Affordably priced and creatively produced, the books are sure to capture the imagination of little children, while giving thoughts and ideas for the rest of the family to mull over. From imaginative ways of illustrating eco-friendly concepts to investigating the reasons cited by the books at a greater level… there is no end to the possible conversations and arty activities one can conceive at the end of the reading. So get your copies, already!
(Also available in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil)