PLOT: 4/5 CHARACTERS: 4.5/5 WRITING STYLE: 4.5/5 ILLUSTRATIONS: 5/5 ENTERTAINMENT: 4.5/5
I don’t know what to be more excited about. The fact that I found this hidden gem online or that it features one of my favourite birds on the cover. But yay! I couldn’t help but jump with joy when I first held this beauty in my hands.
Living in a small forested town, one gets to experience nature in a sui generis way. And over the years my love for all things natural – trees, flowers, plants, birds, insects, animals, etc. has only experienced a dramatic climb.
It’s only natural that when a book like Deepak Dalal’s The Paradise Flycatcher comes my way, my heart jumps with carefree abandon. Read on to know more about the book and my experience of reading it.
What to expect?
Expect a children’s book that narrates a story that focuses on birds and their interactions with the natural and human world.
Expect a book that can be easily read by children 8 years and above. Expect a book of under 130 pages that comes with some of the most gorgeous illustrations you would have ever seen.
What is the book all about?
The book is about nature and birds and a surreal quest for a lost squirrel. It’s about adventure and loving nature. With its setting, characters, and animals, all uniquely Indian, the book has a relatable vibe to it.
The summary of The Paradise Flycatcher
Young Mitalee’s beloved squirrel Snowdrop, a rare and exotic specimen of its kind, has gone missing, leaving no clues behind. A favourite amongst the bird gang, Snowdrop creates panic amongst his friends when he disappears without a trace. The last person he was seen with is the incredibly beautiful and awe-inducing Paradise Flycatcher.
But the only issue here is that the Paradise Flycatcher lives in the distant and impenetrable Southern forests, and it will be a huge task to get to him, let alone ask about Snowdrop’s whereabouts. This leaves the bird gang with hardly any feasible options.
But seek they must because that’s the only way to find their favourite squirrel. Meanwhile, the human gang consisting of Mitalee and her close friends has also begun its quest.
Unknown to each other, both these gangs have set out to find their favourite squirrel in the whole wide world.
What makes it click?
The book makes use of all the elements that together make up for a great children’s entertainer. But Deepak Dalal’s specialty is not that.
His forte lies in the ability to enthuse the same kind of passion that he shares for wildlife and nature, into his readers too. And that’s saying something.
The book is a stepping stone to not just understanding nature, and birds, but also educating the young ones about the wide variety of avian species that make India their home.
The sense of mystery combined with a sense of adventure and daredevilry (one that is rooted in the firm belief that the children’s characters are unbeatable and can accomplish just about anything) makes this book a great read.
The book encompasses many Indian avian species and does great justice to their avian characters.
One comes across species as varied as Drongo, Robin, Minivet, Iora, Paradise Flycatcher, Bulbul, Sunbird, Great Indian Hornbill, etc. Even the character names are quite amusing with Drongo named Bongo, Iora as Senora, Sunbird as Mysun, Minivet as Scarlet, etc.
Illustrations that spill magic
The USP of the book is undoubtedly its gorgeous and eye-catching illustrations. Whether it is the images from Mitalee’s school, the close-up portraits of Snowdrop, the almost surreal beauty of the Paradise Flycatcher, or the dark and lovely trees of the Southern forests abundant with the majestic Great Indian Hornbill.
All the pictures are beautifully done, with a lot of attention to detail and overall visual appeal.
In the end
In the end, The Paradise Flycatcher is a great read, recommended to all children and adults who often get nostalgic about their childhood.
It is a book that makes you appreciate the little things in life while making us aware of the beauty around us. It teaches us to appreciate and conserve what little flora and fauna are left in this world.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of The Paradise Flycatcher using the link below.