This is a heavy book in physical weight because of the high quality paper and printing invested within. It is made heavier by a cover byline from Ruskin Bond and a back cover recommendation by Vandana Shiva. So, I write this review with an equally heavy heart, knowing that I am treading yet another heavy landmine of attempting to be fair and balanced at all times between creative producers and users of creative products like books.

The Talking Tree is perhaps written with the best intention of reminding us about the beauty and purpose of the natural world, but written in a rather unnatural way. There are too many elements and a jumping storyline that shifts from a ghost in a monument to a homeless single bird (when there is a tree around, why would a bird look elsewhere, single or otherwise?) to land grabbers to friendly neighbours in balloons, clouds and rainbows and superhero boys! Are all these things symbolic is some way, I pause to wonder, but only briefly.

The story appears to begin with a boy, a tree and a ghost, then veers to a single bird and the generous tree and free furnishings from the universe. This happy motel gets mucked up when “burly men” in a car clamp down on the tree. The single bird makes good her debts by freeing the tree to talk. Did the land grabbers who stopped the tree from talking come back? How did that get resolved? What role did that ghost and the monument have in this story? And, if we are not in a muddle already, this text is written in verse with dramatically enlarged fonts and, at the end of the forty-fifth page of this book, you are happy to know it ends well, for your sake if not the universe alone.

What prompts you to turn the pages is to enjoy the illustrative style of distinctiveness that Priya Kuriyan brings to all her work and perhaps this is one of the most redeeming features of The Talking Tree.

By Sujata Noronha

Author: Sagari Chhabra
Illustrator: Priya Kuriyan
48 pages
Rs 250.00
ISBN: 9788181581907
Natraj Publishers, 2014
Subject Category: Contemporary/Fiction/Picture Book
Age-group: 7+

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


“For a teacher or librarian faced with dozens of books to read, a good book review website is as essential as maps are for geographers.”

Anil Menon - Writer

“Indian children’s books rarely get the kind of publicity they deserve in the popular or social media. Websites like Goodbooks plug the gap by not letting a single Indian children’s book of merit slip through the cracks. Most people would not even know about the books available in the market if not for a resource like this.”


“Book review sites like Goodbooks are a wonderful resource for locating theme-based or issue-based children’s books to enrich the learning experience in the classroom and at home.”

Asha Nehemiah - Children's Writer
Phone: +91 44 TBA
Alwarpet, Chennai – 600018 INDIA
305, Manickam Avenue, TTK Road,