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What comes to your mind when someone says the word ‘Zoo’? A huge open space with enclosures, moats, display galleries and a fun day out? If you go by what Katie Bagli and Medha S Rajadhyaksha have to say in their book ‘The Zoo Around You’, you will realize that the images that rolled before your eyes are definitely that of a zoo, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find a variety of creatures around you.
‘The Zoo Around You’ takes from the notion that it is very important for humans, especially the young ones, to realise that we share our planet with living beings that are all around us – in our kitchen, on the window sills, in books, on our beds, apart from being in the open areas of the garden, jungle, beaches or the ocean. And that they all need to be respected for what they are, as all of them have a role to play in keeping the ecosystem on earth alive and kicking. And the best part – it has all been done in the very interesting form of poetry, that the children can very well relate to.
The book is nicely organized in short poems covering a potential place where one can identify a group of creatures, and hence can be called a zoo. The concept of a zoo existing in our homes, in the vegetables as well as inside us is sure to get a child hooked. Each poem has a box of trivia and fun facts related to the creatures covered in the poem. The illustrations are quirky and charming and are done in the zentangle art form.
The book is also a good example of a collaborative attempt in authoring a book. In the authors’ own words, one of them has done the content, while the other has done the poetry – and the end result sounds seamless, as you enjoy the verses and the little nuggets about the animals of all sizes that you see around you.