How many of us have taken the time to sit down aimlessly and observe the birds around us? If you have experienced the magic of sitting still in a park or garden, you’ll see that even in a short span of five minutes there is a flurry of activity that goes on. Little insects, birds and small animals like squirrels play out their merry routines. Add to that the soft breezes that may blow occasionally, the rays of the sun and the active participation of the plants and trees, and you will witness a miraculous dance of nature. It is this beautiful and constantly changing phenomenon that Bulbul Sharma describes in Birds in my garden and beyond. The book has been published by Talking Cub, an imprint of Speaking Tiger Books
When I read the book, I felt as if I was talking to a friend, casually chatting about the abundance of little creatures in her garden or backyard.
A treasure trove of information
While this book recounts many personal observations, it also strikes me as a treasure house of information on birds for young readers. For example, Sharma talks casually about how she observed a tailorbird build its nest on a tree. This indirectly gives the reader a peek into so many fascinating facts and observations about birds and insects. Or, when she talks about bees, the topic of pollination comes across as a casual passing conversation, but one that will really stay with the reader forever since it is in form of a delightful narrative.
The book begins with the narration of observations of birds and insects in the backyard. But then, it slowly and quite seamlessly moves into the dense jungles and mountains of India and the wonderful birds that you see here. It touches on migratory birds as well. As you read you understand why birds have certain features and mannerisms and how these help them adapt and survive in their environment. For example, webbed feet of aquatic birds help them navigate the water faster.
A dash of humour…
A bit of humour interwoven into words makes the magic of nature come alive.
“Sometimes I have seen the snakebird catch a fish that is too big for it to eat. You know what it does then? It throws the fish into the air and then expertly catches it by opening its beak wide to swallow the fish as it comes down. Can you do that? I certainly cannot. I tried to toss a pizza once and it fell right on my head”
Humour in language makes this book more enjoyable.
When a child reads the book there is a lot of fun and information, along with wonderful images. Yes, each and every page has wonderful illustrations that simply leap up to the reader! It is a great book for children. In addition, as an adult reading the book to a child I realized the immense burst of life contained even within a small area. If only one cares to look, if only one has the time to stand and stare, if only one truly notices, even small places like a little backyard or balcony are simply brimming with life. In a sense, this book reminds us to pause and take a break from our run of the mill lives and look at nature - starting from our own backyards!