Meet the superstars of India’s animal kingdom! A crocodile who loves eating rice. A mule who won an award for bravery. A camera-friendly tigress who ruled Ranthambore. Swashbuckling monitor lizards. Rats believed to be the children of a goddess. Cuddly dogs who help nervous travellers. Five thousand punctual parrots…

Soar, crawl, hop and scamper about with these and other intriguing creatures, along with their equally interesting human friends, as they take you on a most unusual journey across the country. Cheerfully told and charmingly illustrated, these animal stories, collected from cities, jungles, rescue missions and maybe even your neighbourhood, are funny, fascinating and downright adorable. And the best part? They’re all completely true!


  • A Tigress Called Machhli and Other True Animal Stories from India is a fascinating collection of real-life narratives about human-animal coexistence in India. This set of thirty short stories draws on the author’s own love for animals and introduces readers to the complexity and wonder of human-animal relationships.
  • The book takes a nuanced and compassionate view of the bonds forged between people and animals. It is suitable not only for children who nurture a fondness for our furry, scaly and feathered friends, but also for those who aren’t very comfortable around them since it represents animals in a very positive light. It foregrounds the ways in which animals are loyal, peace-loving, trusting, and instinctual, an approach that encourages readers to look at creatures great and small with respect and curiosity rather than suspicion or unfounded fear.
  • The stories are geographically diverse. Sehgal narrates stories from all over the country, including the storks of Kokkare Bellur in Karnataka, a rat temple outside of Bikaner in Rajasthan, a hard-working mule from Jammu and Kashmir, and an animal-filled household in Hemalkasa in Maharashtra – and this is just a tiny sample! The author also uses the stories as opportunities to tell readers other interesting facts about these places, their wildlife, and culture. For instance, in the story about Kokkare Bellur, we also learn about Channapatna handmade toys that are made not too far from there. The book is a great way to learn not just about animals but also about the diverse country we live in.
  • Written in a simple conversational style, which keeps the text interactive and engaging, the book features an interesting mix of stories, including legends, myths, rescue missions, wild encounters and more. Sehgal’s writing is interspersed with light humour and it often tries to draw the reader in with references to movies they may have watched or places they might have seen. This interactive quality, and the suggestions for projects and activities that are included in many stories, makes the book very suitable for use in classrooms.
  • The book is well produced, with an attractive, colourful cover that will doubtless grab the attention of prospective readers.
  • The book often suggests that children ask their parents to take them on holidays to the places that it refers to. This gesture to the material circumstances of the reader’s life feels a little unnecessary.


A Tigress Called Machhli and Other True Animal Stories from India is a book that is both fun and fascinating. Its easy, lucid writing style, well-chosen stories and important message of compassion for animals will make it a sure-shot hit with any young reader.


Author: Supriya Sehgal
Illustrator: Jit Chowdury
Language: English
Page Extent: 176 pages
Price: Rs 299
ISBN: 978-9388322157
Publisher: Hachette, 2019
Subject Category: Fiction/Short Stories/Animals/India
Age-group: 8+

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