Bollywood…er…I mean Birdywood is not behind humans, no Sir. It is holding The Great Birdywood Games, as the humans prepare for their 30th Olympics this year. Birds flock from all over the world to participate in this mega event to show off their skills.
Shamim Padamsee wears different hats – educationist, social worker, businesswoman, diplomat. When she wears her writer’s hat, it is good news for children!
It is interesting to note how animals remain an inseparable part of our childhood stories. Yet, as we grow up, we become far apart from the natural and the wild. We talk of animals to be conserved, preserved in their distant jungle homes and kept away from our comfortable city lives, not like those imaginary companions who were equals in our childhood.
Shamim Padamsee’s sequel to her book Birdywood Buzz: Return of the Vulture, this is a children’s picture book that captures the spirit of the game as well as the wild in a unique, interesting combination. Meant for 5 years and above, this book with colourful and attention-grabbing illustrations (by Soumya Menon) will endear the story to the kids. It’ll be released on 8th June, the 50th day prior to the Olympics, in Mumbai at Bombay Natural History Society.
The book not only has an entertainment, but an educational value as well. Characteristics of the birds are subtly woven with the story, which only one with a good understanding of birds can write. Children will learn that Kestrel has keen eyesight, Puffin, Kingfisher and Cormorants are great water divers, Falcons best air divers and Mynas excellent mimickers.
Bird characters come and go with rapidity in the story. Concentration on a few birds would have led to greater identification of the children with the characters. But then, well, it’s the Great Birdywood Game teeming with participants and spectators.
The characters that I most liked are the mighty Mor Khan and the curious Horned Owl who asks in a hoot – “Who-hoo-ooo, is the best diver on earth?” But I can’t answer this. To know the winner, read The Great Birdywood Games!