Po is a little pangolin who likes to be alone. Other animals find his appearance strange and make fun of scaly body and cone-shaped mouth. However, he ignores them and single-mindedly searches for termites – his favourite food. He knows that his body is built to help him find them. But what happens when Po is attacked by a cheetah? How does he fight off his foe?
Po tricks his foe, written by Sharmila Deo, and published by Kalpavriksh is a wonderful introduction to pangolins, an endangered animal that is hardly visible in popular literature.
The writing could have been tighter, particularly an episode when Po’s head gets stuck inside a termite hill. The narrative on how he extricates himself seems a bit laborious. But other than this, the book effectively combines fiction and non-fiction to introduce children to pangolins, while also gently reflecting on issues of identity, body positivity, self-esteem, handling problems and pursuing goals. Whole-page illustrations by Niloufer Wadia make the book come alive with attractive visuals. On the whole, this is an enjoyable, informative and economical addition to your child’s picture-book shelf.
By Aparna Kher