Tiger stories from the Gond people, one of the largest Indigenous groups in South Asia.
In this wordy Indian import, author/illustrator Uikey laments the loss of the interdependent relationship that tigers once enjoyed with the Gond tribe. They shared their forest home, he recounts, “and the tiger was like an elder, a worthy ancestor.” Along with his own childhood memories of tigers, he also shares six short stories about the tiger. These tales are set in rural India and are part of the folklore of the Gond. In a preface, Uikey mentions that he has penned these stories in the hope that they will be remembered by future generations. At the end, he brings the book back full circle by sharing how his small son, Chalit, experiences the tiger now and how city-dweller Chalit’s experiences are so different from Uikey’s as a child. It’s a heartfelt effort, but the writing style doesn’t seem geared toward children. Young readers will need a significant amount of explanation and context to completely understand Uikey’s perspective. The book also has much more text than is common in the United States for a picture book, gearing it toward older readers. Compensating for this, the book has strong visual appeal, with intricate die cuts on the front and back covers. The earthy-hued, ink-on-paper illustrations in Gond art are absolutely striking in their depictions of the tiger and Indian rural life.
A rare and distinctive perspective on the relationship between people and tigers, though with specialized appeal. (Picture book. 10-adult)