Andal Jagannathan
PLANTS ARE EVERYWHERE by By Ritu Desai. Illustrated by Ekta Bharti Pratham Books, 2023, 6 pp., INR 70.00
November 2023, volume 47, No 11

The dominant colour for the book cover, green, sets the tone for the book. The illustrations and the text do a fabulous tango together, bringing alive the world of plants for young readers. The text placement— ‘scorching heat’ on desert sands and ‘shivering cold’ on snow—is an ingenious way of enhancing the reader’s understanding of the context.
The book is a ‘Level 3’ title aimed at children ready to read independently. Older children too can benefit from reading the book. In fact, I (whose childhood is several decades behind me) learned a new word from the book—haaq. I had to look it up and while on that quest, I also learned that snow acts as a blanket for plants—provides insulation, and traps heat. The snow cover actually protects plants from extreme temperatures and winds. Oh, and haaq are mustard greens.
There are an infinite number of conversational points in the book. This book can be a wonderful tool in the hands of an inquisitive child who has access to an adult who is willing to answer questions.
A lot of thought has gone into the illustrations. My favourite is the one of the desert with shadows, of a camel and a cactus, adding an extra dimension to the page. Yet another talking point—some children will surely ask about the shadows!