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Muchkund and his Sweet Tooth by Madhav Gadgil has all the elements of a bookok that will be enjoyed both by children and grown-ups.
Narrated by the well-known ecologist Dr. Madhav Gadgil, Muchkund and his Sweet Tooth is a book that seamlessly weaves fact and fiction to create a storyline that resonates with genuine solutions to the very real problems of our world. That these problems are nature related and the solutions suggest ways of protecting nature makes this a book that is very relevant today. Muchkund is a wonderful character, breezy and carefree but with a strong sense of what is right and wrong. In today’s use and throw world, a hero like Muchkund is not only unusual but deserving of praise. His earnest desire to protect the bees is commendable. All too often a good plan remains unsuccessful because of a few selfish people. Vali ably represents this selfish section of society, intent only on fulfilling his own desires. But it is the determination of the other bears to punish Vali in order to continue the good work begun by Muchkund that really surprised me. The decision of the bears to punish one of their own people sends out a strong message of how unity and a vision for the future is an essential ingredient for the success of any plan.
Maya Ramaswamy’s wonderfully detailed illustrations not only entertain, they also educate. The book provides relevant information about bees, ghosts, and bee hives in a way that does not interfere with the narrative. Rather, it helps add another layer to what is a well-written story and ensures that we take away much more than a story when we finish the book.
This large sized book, sumptuously published by Pratham Books, is a joy to behold. At Rs. 55 it is a steal and an investment that parents and educators should not hesitate to make, considering the many hours of fun and information it will give children.