Most of us think that we live in cities while animals live in jungles. But the wild is all around us – in our cities, on our streets, in our homes, and even on our beds. Cities should be designed keeping in mind not just the conveniences of people, but of creatures too, who have made cities their home. With enough open spaces, plants and trees, and fewer disturbances, we can have a variety of fauna sharing our ecosystem and making it richer.
Wildlife in a City Pond is an interesting book for children. It introduces them to the little wonders that exist in a pond – turtles, fish, snakes, toads, frogs, ducks and otters in the water, insects like dragonflies and butterflies flying around, and birds like spotted owlets, weaver bayas, lapwings and nightjars in the grass, weeds, plants and trees nearby. The author jots down the changing moods and residents of the pond with each season. He also describes the pond coming to life with a vengeance in the rains. According to him, if one has the inclination, one can witness a wild reality show happening at all hours: the hunter and the hunted, the establishment and loss of territories, the dating and the mating, mamas and papas building homes to raise and protect their young and more.
The illustrations breathe life into this message-based book and make it much more lively. A kingfisher rising out of the waters with a fish in its beak, the loud lapwings protecting their eggs… these and other illustrations have a life-like feel to them.
Although the book is rated for Level 4 reading, the language could have been simpler for children to understand the theme of the book better.
The message of the book is to save ponds around us, both from pollution and from the sharks of construction, who consider any wetland as good as wasteland. Many of us would rather see ‘development’ around us than a marsh, a mangrove or a thriving pond. The question is: what is development? Clean air and space for us and other critters to live or a blazing mall built over the graves of thousands of reptiles, insects and other creatures? Answers to these important questions, in the long run, will not only decide the fate of other animals who share the planet with us, but will also determine the survival of our own species.
By Arefa Tehsin
WILDLIFE IN A CITY POND
Author: Ashish Kothari
Illustrator: Sangeetha Kadur
Pratham Books, 2014
Subject Category: Contemporary/Non-Fiction/Picture Book
Tags: Wildlife/Flora and Fauna/Creatures/Pond/City/Environment