Author: Jui Andhare
Illustrator: Rishi Bharadwaj
Publisher: Happy Squirrel (Leadstart Publishing)
Price: Rs 95
In her first children's book, Jui Andhare transports you to a world of talking eagles, little boys, fierce tribals and delicate elves. Six-year-old Setu and his friend Anila make a trip from their village in the lush meadows around Sundernagari in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the forbidden forest of Ula to help save a pixie's life. During the course of their perilous journey they meet the wild inhabitants of the forest and find their own inner strength.
Interspersed with fine black-and-white illustrations by Rishi Bharadwaj, Little Setu and the Forbidden Forest of Ula makes for a compact and easy read for children and adults alike. It makes you jog down that memory lane to the time when, as a child, you had taken the forbidden path only to discover what lay further down the road wasn't all that bad or ugly.
But there's more to the book than the fairy tale-like story. It talks of conservation of forests and marginalisation of tribals in society. Children may actually start discussing these subjects after reading the book. And the most important lesson they will learn from the book is "you can be the change you want." So if you're looking to gift something to your younger siblings/nephews/nieces or grandchildren, Little Setu and the Forbidden Forest of Ula is a good pick.