Tales from a dragonfly

Blending with the brown, slushy mud of a paddy field, lies a fierce-mouthed, hairy-legged juvenile insect named Saahi. Along with her siblings, she chases mosquitoes, larva and tadpoles to eat. As the sun rises, she climbs the stalk of a paddy plant, shaking off the clay that clings to her and waits… till one fine day, her skin splits open to reveal a beautiful Wandering Glider Dragonfly, with translucent wings, flying above the paddy fields…

As Saahi explores the world, she meets and learns about a range of common insects like the zigzag ladybird beetle, aphids, a damselfly, whirligig beetles, a carpenter bee, ants, dung beetles, antlions and even a millipede, until she finds a swarm of insects just like her…Wandering Gliders. Catching the wind, she joins them as they follow the rain, over land and sea.

Naturalist and educator M. Yuvan’s story flows easily, peppered with facts that leave one in awe of the insect world. Anusha Menon’s realistic and detailed illustrations enhance the narrative, drawing in the reader. I can imagine little children being inspired to look for insects, typically feared as creepy-crawlies, leading to more exploration and less fear. Saahi’s Quest published by Kalpavriksh helps children appreciate nature by beginning with the littlest creatures around them. It makes for a wonderful addition to any nature-centric bookshelf at home or school.

By JoAnne Saldanha