Being an elephant lover I was easily drawn to this book. To add to that, this art activity book is fabulously produced with folk and tribal art from different parts of India!
Written by Paola Ferraratti, the artists who have collaborated on the book include Karunakara Saha, Sunita, Joydeb Chitrakar, Harsingh Hamir, Jason Imam, Jagdish Chitara and Mudrika Devi.
8 Ways to Draw an Elephant starts by posing the question – what is art? It explores this through a photograph, a realistic drawing, and stylised depictions of the elephant by various artists. Each spread introduces children to a new style, with text encouraging children to draw, trace and colour, besides providing some information about elephants. There is ample white space for children to make their own patterns, perhaps find their own style and figure out what art truly is. The last page is left blank, with text to fuel their creativity.
Given this variety in depiction, the blurb rightly says, “Art is as much about imagination and vision as it is about depiction.” The folk and tribal art in the book includes Saora from Orissa, Meena from Rajasthan, Patua from West Bengal, Mata-Ni-Pachedi from Gujarat and Madhubani from Bihar, among others. The back cover introduces children to all the styles presented in the book along with the artists.
Apart from the inspiration the book offers, it also educates children about the largest land animal, the elephant. In the sixteen pages, along with the stylised elephants, Ferraratti presents various elephant facts like physical attributes, food habits, the differences between Asian and African elephants, facts about domesticated elephants, etc., in lucid language that young children can follow. Well laid out and beautifully produced, this open-ended book is a treat for children and adults alike.
By Indu Harikumar
Author: Paola Ferraratti
Tara Books, 2015
Subject Category: Contemporary/Non-Fiction